Colin McEnroe Show - Full Episode Archive

We've Moved! - 09/18/2013

You could argue that two trends are in a state of modern collision. Women are hitting puberty earlier than they used to, and their breasts are arriving in larger sizes.  There's a complex matrix of factors making this happen. Average bra size in the fifties was a B. A British bra m... read more

If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, asexuals seem like brothers and sisters from a distant solar system.    Western societies are gradually growing accustomed -- with varying degrees of comfort -- to the initials in LGBT, but what about A? On our show today. we'll exp... read more

Come on, you must be outraged about something! These are the headlines: "Rich Manhattan moms hire handicapped tour guides so kids can cut lines at Disney World." "Dave Chappelle's Hate-On For Hartford Called 'Sad,' 'Asinine.'" "No Exception For Newington Veteran Being Evicted For Smokin... read more

Making Tea Honestly - 09/05/2013
We try new products all the time, rarely with any insight into how they came to exist and what it took to bring them to market.   Barry Nalebuff wants to change that.   Nalebuff -- co-founder of Honest Tea -- is a soft drink tycoon, but he's also still what he was before... read more

Michael Bolton has reinvented himself many times. A few years ago, he cut off his trademark hair.  He put out an album of opera arias and another of American Songbook Standards. But probably his biggest challenge was dealing with his image as a romantic icon so permanently rooted in the... read more

If you seek parallels between J.D. Salinger and Thomas Pynchon they're easy to find.   Both were literary geniuses. Both were publicity-shunning recluses. Both men were psychosexually arrested by God knows what primal wound. Salinger seemed able to bond only with very young wome... read more

We have in the works, for next week, a show about J.D. Salinger, the American writer most at odds with his own greatness.    Little did we suspect that Dave Chappelle, the comedian most at odds with his own greatness, would come to Hartford and have peculiar and very contrary ex... read more

Thirteen years ago, I wrote an amusing but fairly ignorant op-ed piece for the New York Times triggered by watching a planetarium movie narrated by Tom Hanks. I wrote: "I miss the days of the anonymous, nobody-special narrator. Playing next door to Mr. Hanks at the museum was a Mount Ev... read more

Through the lens of time, the anti-disco backlash looks a little ugly. What was disco, really? It started as an underground dance movement propelled by blacks, gays, and Puerto Ricans. It was a liberating and hedonistic music of the oppressed, and people from those groups gathered and m... read more

Today's show was triggered by a confluence.   "Orange Is The New Black," a Netflix series based on Piper Kerman's memoir of a year spent at the Danbury federal women's prison, has become a favorite of critics and audiences.   Meanwhile, federal corrections officials have... read more

Today it's lobsters, eels and seaweed.    We like to eat things that come out of the water, but we're not always smart about taking care of the happy aquatic hunting grounds. Lobster harvests have seen some bumper crops recently, but that could lead to a false sense of security.... read more

We'll spend most of The Nose today talking about the drama of Chelsea a/k/a Bradley Manning and about series of citizen rescues that crackled through the news of the week.   The Manning case brings up a complex series of issues, including the possibility that Bradley Manning's f... read more

Certain American places are, indisputably, scenes.   Greenwich Village: at least twice. For the Beats in the Fifties and again for the folk movement in the early 60s. Harlem in the 1920s. Haight-Ashbury, for the hippie scene of the late 1960s and maybe even the Ferlinghetti driv... read more

Because Generation X is eternally younger than the Baby Boomers, we just assumed they’d be eternally young. But a person born in 1965 turns 50 in two more years. Generation X somehow went gliding into mid-life without the rest of us noticing. And, Gen-X’ers would say thats pretty ty... read more

Today's show is three segments which are interlinked, even though we didn't exactly plan it that way.    We'll begin by looking at the highly competitive four-way race in New Haven's mayoral primary, scheduled for Sept. 10. But we'll look at it with the assistance of the New Hav... read more

We're fascinated by Bernie Madoff and Frank Abagnale, larger than life con men who somehow got perfectly sane and intelligent people to trust them when there was ample reason not to.   Today, you'll hear a story that puts Frank and Bernie to shame. Or maybe it's just more shamef... read more

This week a rodeo clown made news when he wore an Obama mask for a routine that straddled the line between permissible lampooning of a president and unsettling evocations of a lone black man being chased and menaced while a white crowd cheered and jeered. How do we resolve those two... read more

A Salute To Urine! - 08/15/2013
In 1978, Indian prime minister Moraji Desai flustered Dan Rather during a Sixty Minutes interview by describing his health practice of drinking his own urine. I'm not sure how many people around the world do this for its supposed health benefits, but there are more than you might think.... read more

When "The Sopranos" ended -- the screen going black and an 80 percent chance that Tony got wacked and never saw it coming -- you really got the feeling that something new had been attempted.    This is both true and not true. The arts have a long history, and something close to... read more

We're talking today about a word that can refer to the solid waste produced by male cattle.    It can also refer to nonsensical talk not grounded in fact. In 1986, the American philosopher Harry Frankfurt published a scholarly analysis of this concept. In some ways it was a grou... read more

Jury Duty - 08/12/2013
The American jury system is a great leveler. Rich and powerful men such as Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skilling of Enron, suddenly find their fates in the hands of very average Americans who earn and possess a tiny fraction of what they have. Most of the news we get about juries con... read more

The Drive-in movie theater turns 80 this summer. If you haven't been to one for a long time, you might be surprised at how much fun they are. Here in Connecticut their numbers are shrinking--it's probably some combination of real estate prices, gas prices, the advent of home the... read more

Today’s show features two loosely-related interviews. Billy Collins is probably the most popular poet in the United States and this summer he’s guest curating and guest voicing The Writer’s Almanac, a popular Garrison Keillor radio segment which showcases one poem every day and then loo... read more

Are you ready for a woman to lead the country? Is it Hillary you want? And there seems to be no end to so called inappropriate behavior in the Anthony Weiner campaign. This week, his spokeswoman used a few ugly words to describe a former intern, adding to an already disappointing st... read more

Summer’s here, surf’s up, and you can watch all your favorite TV episodes in re-runs, but instead you have to read — what? David Copperfield? Eight-hundred pages long? That doesn’t seem fair. But that’s what your school told you to read.  I’m Mark Oppenheimer, your guest host for th... read more

Home birthing? Doulas? Midwives? Hypnobirthing? Prenatal massage? Today, we’re talking about alternative birthing. Fifty years ago, it was pretty simple: you went to the hospital, they knocked you out, and you had your baby — while dad smoked a cigar in the waiting room. Or if no ho... read more

Today we'll talk about the art of biography. When you think about it, it's a stange thing for a writer to do. Spending years learning every detail of another human's life. Do biographers ever get sick of their subjects? Do they rue the day they decided to immerse themselves in anoth... read more

I find it difficult to think about the mess currently embroiling Anthony Weiner without also thinking about Virginia Johnson, who died this week at 88. She was one half of Masters and Johnson, the research and writing duo who opened up sex as a discussable topic. If you're too young... read more

Let me tell you, in the bluntest possible manner, why we're doing a show with Ivor Hugh today. Last year, I had the idea of doing a show that would have been a gathering of some of the voices from the era when radio was king. One of the names in my head was Ivor's. The other one wa... read more

You know who needs this show today? Me. I'm having a musically starved summer, at least in terms of modern recroded music. I've made it out to some live shows, but I really have no idea what's being released these days. I can sum up my relation to music his summer in the follo... read more

In researching this show, I found one claim that some of the writers of the Constitution fasted to enhance inspiration and mental clarity. I couldn't confirm that, but in 1775, the Continental Congress proclaimed July 20 as a day of "fasting and humiliation."   The notion was that a... read more

In Praise Of Haiku - 07/22/2013
It all started last March.  Emily Caswell, who was then working at the front desk here in the Dankosky Building, sent an email to all employees about a pair of glasses found in the parking lot. I wrote a haiku: doesn’t it look fine seeing the world in a blur without these... read more

Today on The Nose, we'll spend some time on the controversy over Rolling Stone's decision to use a -- I guess one might say flattering -- photo of accused Boston Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on its cover. The photo accompanies an 11,000-word profile, possibly the most in-depth one done so f... read more

Why are we doing a show about Finland? The country just seems to get a lot of things right. It ranks among the highest in the world for self-reported happiness. The education system is also chronically ranked among the best in the world, but without the manic emphasis on standardiz... read more

The story of Josh Hanagarne isn't necessarily funny. He was born with Tourette Syndrome, a poorly understood neuropsychiatric disorder which inflicts on Josh a blizzard of tics, flinches, whoops and yelps. Most disconcertingly, he frequently hits himself i the face. Josh's first ref... read more

You may feel pretty up-to-date about dinosaurs. Well, let me ask you this. How did they have sex? For starters, think about a stegosaurus. Most positions you can imagine would castrate the male, assuming that dinosaurs had exterior male sex organs. We actually don't know that mu... read more

Pick-Up Culture - 07/15/2013
To be honest, I had a little trouble grasping why we would be doing a public radio show about Pickup Artists, until I got a peek at the vast, cult-like subculture -- sometimes known as the seduction community --  with roots in published books and internet forums where gurus like Ross Je... read more

Over the last ten years, one of the hottest trends in television has been the13-episode story arc, with each of the first 12 ending in cliffhangers and question marks.    Right on the heels of that came binge watching, which amounts to blowing past the stop sign of each cliff ha... read more

Here are some ways to think about the Tour de France.    When I'm out on my road bike and I head down a very steep hill, it starts to feel pretty damn scary if my speed creeps up over 30 miles an hour. That means I'm zooming down a steep grade and the bike feels right on the ver... read more

I'm forever grateful -- and oddly disappointed -- that in the 24 hours during which we've been promoting today's show about the role of jerks in shaping the history and character of Connecticut, not one person has asked me whether I'm going to be a guest.    I feel as though my... read more

Imagine somebody offered you a ticket to go hear Stephen King be interviewed (by me) on stage at the Bushnell in Hartford July 18. Imagine also that you had never read any of his work.  What would Stephen King want you to read in the next ten days, just to get to know him. His picks... read more

How insane does the world of sports uniforms get? Last weekend more than 2,000 fans lined up outside Gillette Stadium for a limited time opportunity to swap out their Aaron Hernandez jersey for the jersey of some other New England Patriot. People waited in line for hours in the drea... read more

Rock and roll was invented with no real expectation that its practitioners would ever age.   Finding a way to grow older with a guitar strapped to your torso requires some special thought and effort.    Jackson Browne did it by slowing down his musical output and acceler... read more

If you want to think about the way our diminished interest in the humanities amounts to playing with fire, consider the present moment, which includes wind-driven deadly wildfires in Arizona and a tornado in Windsor and the recurrent suggestion that this is "the new normal." The ne... read more

Some of you may actually be in moving cars right now, listening to this show, but the average automobile spends 95 percent of its life parked somewhere.  Your car might be parked at work for a while, and that big employee parking lot uses up a lot of valuable space and throws off a... read more

Here's my nomination for a neologism: "Amazonopoeia." Definition: the rhetorical use of Amazon shopping and customer reviews.   There have been two very different examples this week.  People who thought Paula Deen had been overpunished started buying her books and pushing them u... read more

In the modern NFL era, a position called tight end has risen to a new degree of importance. Tight ends are hybrid offensive players. The best ones are big, powerful, fearless and fleet of foot. They're able to a block huge a linebacker on a running play and, one play later, run a sharp,... read more

In some ways, the 'bro' is not new. He's there, for example, in Philip Roth's "Goodbye Columbus" as Ron Patimkin, the big athletic empty-headed brother of Brenda.    What's different is that in the 1960s, it seemed fundamentally untenable to be Ron for an extended period of time... read more

Why is the Miss American pageant held in September? The apparent answer lies in its origins in 1921 when Atlantic City businessmen came up with a beauty pageant as part of a "fall frolic" festival that would extend the resort areas season past Labor Day.    The first Miss Americ... read more

Some time in the late 1980s, when my main job was writing allegedly funny newspapers and magazine pieces and books  I was visiting a friend who worked in the offices of "Late Night with David Letterman." I think she was an assistant to Dave's assistant or something. Anyway, she introduc... read more

An email from regular correspondent Bill Curry regarding the passing of actor James Gandolfini:    "I don’t think there was ever such a blend of Caligula and Everyman. At least it’s hard to think of one.   A reason people are so moved by the passing of James Gandolfini m... read more

I'm quoting from a recent article on the American Association of  University Professors website:   "Partnered women scientists at places like Stanford University do 54 percent of the cooking, cleaning, and laundry in their households; partnered men scientists do just 28 percent.... read more

Let's be clear, graffiti has not gone totally legit.   People get arrested all the time for it, and in some cases they should.   Part of the problem is that the word itself gets used to mean several differet things. The press calls it graffiti if you paint some nasty slo... read more

Last night I went I went to the movies. And it was a nice movie. "What Maisey Knew." But I was kind of "meh." I've seen this before. Think about it. When was the last time a new movie really rocked your world? I've seen some great documentaries, and some interesting foreign films, but I... read more

Texas Governor Rick Perry is here in Connecticut trying to lure businesses away with promises of low taxes and no regulation. Before we get to the specifics of that, let me say this: Perry didn't invent the idea of one state competing for the jobs of another's, but over his long te... read more

For the people most directly touched by the Newtown shootings, the very fact of this day may have been hard to imagine.   That six months would pass. That there would be a day when, somehow, they would have survived for half a year with their grief and their memories.   ... read more

In the world of forgery, the notion that it takes a thief to catch a thief gets a little dicey.   Forgers tend to be incredibly skilled and talented artists. They pretty much have to be, right? Many of them learn their craft in the backrooms of museums as restoration special... read more

Cicadas are kind of the metal band of nature's sound scape. They have a big sound. On a good night, they'll drown out everybody else. And they have a thrilling back story involving sex and protracted comas.    Today on the show, we'll give the cicadas their due, but then we're g... read more

A few months, a woman Tweeted to complain about the way photo of her family, originally posted on Facebook had been shared on Twitter.   She Tweeted: "Digital etiquette: always ask permission before posting a friend’s photo publicly. It’s not about privacy settings, it’s about h... read more

Usually, on this show, when we tackle anything, we try to start from a fairly neutral launching place. I suppose that claim could be picked apart. But I don't remember feeling so strongly about a topic before the show even started. Simply put, everybody connected with the inclusion of K... read more

Ordinarily on The Nose, we don't dive right into hard news, but it's hard to ignore the disclosures from the last few days about FISA, phones, PRISM and government access to Internet servers. Amusingly (in a dark way), Obama is meeting with the President of China today about cyberse... read more

What can you say about the Blues? Maybe more than any other musical form, it exists to explore the ineffable -- and to guide us almost wordlessly along that corridor connecting sorrow to joy.   In the precinct of music and emotions, the blues are that one phone call you can make... read more

Today 8,100 people over the age of 12 in the U.S. will have their first drug experience.   Another 12,800 will try alcohol for the first time. In the U.S., 135,000 deaths per year are directly attributable to drugs, and that does not count the 100,000 or so other deaths... read more

One of the ongoing debates in American sociolinguistics concerns the so-called Ocracoke brogue, a dialect from the barrier islands off the cost of North Carolina. You could probably throw in the dialect of Smith Island off the coast of Maryland.  There are people who claim that these di... read more

First off, let me apologize to all the people I have spoken to in the last couple of years who have asked me how I am. My response has invariably been, "Busy." Which, I've decided, is a crap answer. In my defense, I really meant it. I sincerely believed that the word that summed up how... read more

It began last night with a documentary about some of the greatest backup singers in rock and roll history, including Darlene Love, who is here, and a short film featuring Tony Shalhoub, who was here. It will close with a screening of the much anticipated film "Frances Ha" directed b... read more

One of the lowlights of 2013 was the trial of Robert Braddock, campaign finance director for Chris Donovan.   FBI surveillance equipment gave us a greasy look at what appears to be business as usual at the State Capitol. Lawmakers and their staffs seemed more than a little famil... read more

Igor Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" was incredibly controversial when it premiered, 100 years ago today, but chances are your current associations with is are affectionate and involve cartoon dinosaurs.    Today on the show, we're going to discuss -- both seriously and playfully... read more

Today, in order to watch a Lenny Bruce monologue on YouTube, I had to sit through a Starbucks commercial. This feels like proof that some kind of fundamental battle has been lost, right? The Internet is free, but not really. Lenny Bruce was an iconoclast whose ideas are now packed i... read more

  I feel like a waiter.   Here are today's specials for The Nose:   An article about the way women in monogamous relationships feel their sexual desire decline more steeply than do men, served on a bed of hope from new psychopharmacology.    The promise of ne... read more

  According to the newly revised DSM V -- often called the Bible of psychiatry -- there are no hypochondriacs.   Hypochondriasis has been removed as a diagnosable disorder. So has Asperger's Syndrome, which has been folded into a larger Autism Spectrum Disorder. There are ne... read more

I feel like I've been preparing my whole life for this show.    I'm a Baby Boomer, but within that generational cohort, you could say I'm as much a Star Trek baby boomer as anything else. I was 12 when the original series debuted. Even though it ran only three seasons and was ne... read more

This year the state legislature will consider bill that would forbid the outdoor the tethering of dogs between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., prohibit pet shops from selling dogs and cats bred at commercial animal mills, establish the idea of an animal advocate -- probably a law student working pr... read more

Once upon a time in a second term, a president used his power to go after journalists in Hartford. I could be talking about President Obama's justice department seizing AP phone records, including some from AP's Hartford office. But I could also be talking Thomas Jefferson in 1806.... read more

I'm one of those odd people who still gets physical newspapers thrown into his driveway. On Monday, I was paging trough the New York Times and came upon Angelina Jolie's now-famous essay about her decision to have her breasts removed preventively, after learning of her high genetic... read more

This weekend -- and maybe sooner -- a lot of us will buckle on bike helmets which, we hope, will protect if we topple. One the show today, we'll look a little closer at that plastic and polystryrene bubble on your noggin. The truth about it may be more complicated that you dreamed.... read more

Two cannibals are eating, and one of them says, "I don't like my mother in law," and the other one says: "So just eat the noodles." Old joke and one of scores and scores of jokes about cannibalism. It's one of the ultimate taboos, so why is there so much comedy about it?   M... read more

  Got an email today from a farmer we know down in Gales Ferry.   He writes: "We use new technologies on a daily basis, from our UCONN weather station with computer modeling to predict disease and insect emergence, to UV processing of our sweet cider as an alternative to pas... read more

  Listen to this quote: "I have just ... paid a depressing visit to an electronic computer which can write sonnets if fed with the right material... I have a feeling that by Christmas it will have written its first novel, and possibly by next Christmas novel sets will be on sale at... read more

No one can escape the issue of extreme food allergies. Maybe it's you who is allergic to peanuts, dairy, shellfish, citrus. Maybe it's your little son or daughter. Or maybe you don't have any allergies, but because you eat food, you find that other people's allergies affect your life. A... read more

It's possible to oversell the idea of a modern revival of so-called American roots music. Maybe that revival is always happening. Nick Spitzer's terrific public radio show "American Routes" has been around since 1998, when it was featuring people like Steve Earle. So, you know ... t... read more

It has been widely reported -- but not heavily discussed -- that Charles and David Koch are the leading suitors to buy the eight newspapers belonging to the Tribune Company. One of those eight newspapers is the Hartford Courant. The Kochs are fabulously rich and deeply conservative.... read more

  Good news for bearded men published in the journal Radiation Protection Dosimetry  found that beards block 90 to 95 percent of UV rays, reducing the risk of skin cancer.   Additionally, beard hair slows the aging process of skin by retaining moisture and protecting against... read more

2012 was not the Mayan apocalypse, but it did pile a little more fuel on the WASP Armageddon. For the first time in 236 years, there was no White Anglo Saxon Protestant in any of the four ticket spots. Biden and Ryan are Catholics.  Romney is, of course, Mormon. President Obama was... read more

Today's New York Times features an article about brain-computer interface which is speeding along faster than you might think. Your long wait for the ability to be able to move things -- well, certain things -- with your thoughts is basically over.  That's the thing about the future... read more

  This week, in a possibly symbolic moment, The New York Times ordered Michiko Kakutani, their Pulitzer-winning book critic, to do a page one analysis of, mostly, tweets by the younger Tsarnaev brother. Her article begins as kind of a dry observation that this is something people ar... read more

John Lennon said they were the greatest comedy team since the Marx Brothers. Gene Roddenberry based the look of the character Chekov on them.   The Jimi Hendrix Experience got its first U.S. concert work as their opening act.    Their TV show generated the money that... read more

The good news about Mars? It has sunlight, carbon, water, and nitrogen. On a good day, it's only 35.8 million miles away. True that good day is July 27, 2018, but still, it beats trying to reach the closest other Earth-like planet which is 70 trillion miles away. The bad news about... read more

Two possible meaningful personal stories. One. I love going to farmer's markets, and one of the many things I'm apt to buy is the so-called salad mix which tends to be interesting and idiosyncratic. Local farmers often put all kinds of unusual greens into their mixes, including thin... read more

  OK, there's warning out on this show.   We're going to talk pretty graphically about the digestive system, about how Elvis died, about flatulence, about roughage, and fecal transplants.   Most of the time we will be dispensing useful medical information. But there'... read more

Let's define our term. Millennials are the generation currently between the ages of 18 and 30. They are often mocked for being soft, cosseted, narcissistic smart phone addicts. And worse. And part of the issue is that it's just fun to talk about them that way. But it doesn't make an... read more

The Boston Marathon bombing sent me back to Don DiLillo's novel "Underworld," in which he describes the experience of watching a shooting be replayed frequently on the news. "There's something here that speaks to you directly, saying terrible things about forces beyond your control,... read more

We had a big menu of things we could talk about on The Nose this week, but there was no possibility we weren't going to tackle "Accidental Racist,' the collaboration between country star Brad Paisely and rap star LL Cool J, mainly because of all the heat and light this song as generated... read more

Don't get me wrong. I like watching college sports, but I wonder what it is we're watching.  One assumption a lot of people make is that college sports pays for itself, but the Knight Commission found the majority of colleges require institutional funds to pay for athletic spending.... read more

A listener named Shelly told me this one: "My large scar on my left wrist reminds me that it is not good to combine platform high heels, blueberry vodka and a wet dance floor. Also, the good karma of attending a charity event will not cover you for bad choices of shoe wear." S... read more

Today you will meet two poets and one novelist, all women, all fascinating, all appearing around here in the next three days.  I will take this opportunity to mention my own interest in Office Poetry, a movement I am in the process of founding. Whenever there is an email memo sent t... read more

Most political arguments are about authority, in the sense of "Who's wielding it right now?" and "Where does it truly reside?"  In pre-Enlightenment Europe, the authority of church and state were merged and there was therefore an easy answer. The King has the authority, because the... read more

Today on the Nose, we're going to talk about looks.  By now you probably know that President Obama stirred up a tempest this week when, after praising California Attorney General Kamala Harris as brilliant, dedicated and tough, he called her "the best-looking attorney general in the... read more

  What is folk music? Phillip Phillips sounds like a folk singer, but he won American Idol. Does that disqualify him? Charles Bradley is the living embodiment of the sound of James Brown, but he played the main stage at the Newport Folk Festival last year. A few years ago, Richard T... read more

We'll be scrolling through many annoying modern speech mannerisms on today's show, but somehow the glowing white coal in the middle of it all is "vocal fry" -- also known as creaky voice. It's an affectation popular among younger girls, although older actresses such as Gwyneth Paltr... read more

  When you realize the challenges faced by foster parents, you want to call them saints, but most of the reject that label. They say they're just doing something that needs doing. They're not saints or angels. In fact, they screw up sometimes and need help from others.  It... read more

  Stem cells are the Wild West of biomedicine.   The commercially run SpaceX Dragon capsule just delivered mouse stem cells to the International Space Station, part of an experiment to see how long periods in space affect living organisms.   In Scotland, researchers... read more

This week two parallels drama unfolded before the eyes of the nation. One of them was the Supreme Court's seemingly careful dance with the issue of gay marriage in oral arguments. Nobody really knows what the justices are going  to do, but it seems unlikely they will issue a broad r... read more

Why do we have, in our studio today, a whole bunch of trumpet players, plus a trombonist, French horn player and what do you call someone who plays the tuba?  A tubist?  A tubaist? A tubista?  Anyway, they're here for a complicated set of reasons, but maybe at the heart of it all is... read more

Here are some of the magazine's I've written for: Mirabella, Men’s Health, Mademoiselle, Best Life, Verge ... At all of the above I was a contributing editor. And Verge was a long-gone Times-Mirror imprint, not to be confused with the hip new The Verge. I also wrote for Cosmo (don’t... read more

Writer Steve Almond says when he brings up his own candy obsession with other people "there is this immediate outpouring of memories, confessions, opinions, regrets." There are lots of very good reasons for that. Candy is usually the first thing we, as children, can buy. As soon as... read more

What is this story we're unpacking today? In a nutshell, two Torrington high school football players -- both 18 -- and a third boy -- 17 and therefore unidentified -- were arrested and charged with statutory rape arising from sex with two 13 year old girls. When the news came out, a gro... read more

  On today's Nose, we'll move briskly through the following topics:    An experiment in Dubai which caused, as I understand it, a chicken to give birth to a duck; the $60 million recall of Lululemon yoga pants; the announcement that Jimmy Fallon will take over the Tonigh... read more

March Madness 2013 - 03/21/2013
Every year, I say March Madness cannot get any more elaborate, and every year, I am wrong. This year, for example, the sports site Deadspin provides a meta-bracket, which allows you to click on games and see the outcome predicted by Nate Silver, Barack Obama, and five actual basketball... read more

You can't make this stuff up. The Beecher family was at the forefront of every important reform movement of the late 19th century. Abolition. Education. Temperance. Women's suffrage. Underlying that was a streak of untameable craziness, especially as incarnated by Henry Ward Beecher... read more

If you had to tell the story of 10 years ago today, the story of our invasion of Iraq and its aftermath, what story would you tell? How hard would it be to assemble a narrative? Today we'll look at that story through the lens of collective (or collected) memory, a fascinating branch... read more

John the Baptist, we are told, subsisted on locusts and honey. I used to think that John the Baptist's would be a great name for a chain of fast food edible insect restaurants, if that trend ever took off.   Come to find out, there's some disagreement, especially online, about wheth... read more

What a week.  Here's what we're tackling on The Nose today. Well, we can't NOT talk about Pope Francis. I'm fascinated by his austere lifestyle and how it's going to mesh with the high-ranking cardinals in the Curia, who mostly do not live that way at all.   New York Times r... read more

Divorce In 2013 - 03/14/2013
Let me tell you about my Christmas Day this year. In the morning, I drove my significant other to the airport so she could fly to L.A. and see her grandchildren. Then I drove out to Canton to the home of my ex-wife and her significant other. My son and his girlfriend went there too, and... read more

Jill Sobule has visited the Colin McEnroe Show, and what came out of it was one of our favorite shows to date. Now, she's teaming up with comedian Julia Sweeny, best known as a writer and actress for Saturday Night Live, to talk about their upcoming "Jill & Julia Show" at the Mark Twain... read more

  Hartford is not the most artistically adventurous place in the world, even though 79 years ago we hosted the debut of "Four Saints in Three Acts," a Virgil Thomson - Gertrude Stein opera that was ground-breaking on about five different levels. In the 1930s, Hartford was like... read more

For a long long while, I thought I didn't like the music of my own Irish culture. That's because I had never heard it. What I had heard instead was a very Americanized version of Irish music. It was hokey, overly cheerful, and often from a genre I would call glass-clinking music.  It wa... read more

  In one sense, personal secrets are a modern invention.    It's at least true that in small village life, keeping secrets is difficult. And for the working class in crowded cities, secrets may have seemed like a luxury as well.    Of course, today, we may be going b... read more

On the Nose today: Have you seen so many post apocalyptic movies and read so many books like "The Road" and those Justin Cronin novels, that you're almost too exhausted to participate in your actual dystopian future? There’s a website called Post Apocalyptica -- of course -- and it... read more

Crispin Glover is an actor, writer, director, recording artist and author. He's in our studio today.  Glover is very famous for two things. The movie "Back to the Future," in which he played the character George McFly at two different ages, and several very eccentric appearances on... read more

The Making of Mime - 03/05/2013
In the 1982 movie "Tootsie," we see Dustin Hoffman, doleful and dejected, walking through Central Park. He passes a mime balancing on one foot. Hoffman glances miserably at the mime. And then shoves him to the ground. And in that moment, you might be seeing the beginning of the mime... read more

Why do people love the HBO series "Girls?" Part of the fun is the cascade of 21st century epigrams. Every episode belches out a dozen or so quotables: The exotic Jessa to her older, uninteresting husband: "I tell my friends you were a test tube baby, just to give you a little edge."... read more

  We're doing something a little unusual on The Nose today. We're spending pretty much the whole show on one topic -- transgressive humor.   I've been thinking a lot about this lately, and the subject came to a boil last weekend when Seth MacFarlane, who specializes in tastele... read more

Actor John Hawkes says he doubts there will be a revival of HBO's critically-acclaimed series, Deadwood, but he's not ruling out the possibity of a movie somewhere down the line.  "I skeptical," Hawkes says. "I would sign up immediately and I'm sure many others would, but the more t... read more

We started thinking about this show because of a much-circulated New York Times article on a Norwegian prime time TV show, watched by one-fifth of the population there, about firewood. The show was inspired by a bestseller called “Solid Wood: All About Chopping, Drying and Stacking Wood... read more

They called Alexandr Karelin The Experiment, a reference to his supposedly unprecedented training methods, which the Russian wrestler himself claimed were so grueling and relentless that nobody else could imagine them: "I train every day of my life as they have never trained a day in th... read more

The news today is full of the Mediterranean diet, a way of eating that is heavy on olive oil, nuts and seeds, vegetables, and fish and white meats. It has newly tested life-extending powers! The news is also heavy with more stories of hidden horse meat in the meals in Europe, especi... read more

Today, we're going to get into the wonky weeds and wade in the alphabet soup about government watchdog agencies. Maybe it won't be all that sexy. All though maybe it will. If you want to know why these agencies exist, go back to 1973 and the famous Saturday Night Massacre. Special p... read more

So what kind of Oscar year is this? One in which two best picture nominees have been criticized by members of Congress for their inaccuracies. The dust-up between Connecticut Congressman Joe Courtney and screenwriter Tony Kushner is the more benign. Courtney asked director Stephen Spiel... read more

I spent one night in the company of James Carville and Mary Matalin, in the course of being their onstage moderator at the Bushnell. My lasting impression was that these were two people whose primary loyalty was to each other. To an unusual degree, when there was down time, they wanted... read more

You have probably heard the phrase Big Data, but do you know what it means? Ninety-nine percent of people who like poodles, coconut water, needlecraft do not know what Big Data is. And that may include me, even though I only like one of those things. But here's what I think it means... read more

  "The average American, in my experience, has no idea what the immigration experience is today."   So writes a woman on my Facebook page today. She spent ten years reapplying for work status renewal as what's called a "temporary non-immigrant." It was, she said, a bureaucra... read more

It seemed this week that we were living in a Jonathan Franzen novel -- or maybe a collaboration between Franzen and his long-departed buddy David Foster Wallace. A cruise ship so impaired that passengers spent days pooping in bags. A flurry of accusations back and forth between a great... read more

A first kiss should be great. But it almost never is. Did anyone have a first kiss that was heavenly? We'll find out today. As one of our guests points out, a kiss is usually our first sexual expereience.  In fact, if it's not, there's a good chance that something almost literally o... read more

It was history rearing up out of the ground to snap its jaws at fantasy. While many of us waited impatiently for the March 31 resumption of "Game of Thrones," investigators found the skeleton of Richard III.   What does one thing have to do with the other? George R.R. Martin... read more

Cats kill birds. You may have ready about the latest study -- it's really a study of other studies, a crunching of data from 90 other surveys -- which cranked up the estimated death toll of birds from cats. The old number was about half a billion; but the Smithsonian Conservation Biolog... read more

  On Facebook, I asked people what they learned during the storm.   One person learned that Domino's will keep its pizza drivers on the road even after the highways are closed, a source of anxiety if your kid is one of those drivers.   Another Facebooker said he gain... read more

It feels good to do radio in a big snow storm. Can I read some cancellations? Episcopalian Primal Scream of Newington, the Little Bitty Bitty Ducky Dirty Diaper Day Car, Etruscan Goat Dancing, are all canceled. The poet Bill Collins writes of: "The government buildings smother... read more

  Maybe you heard yesterday that the Postal Service is ending Saturday delivery, but maybe you didn't know that until 1912 there was Sunday delivery and post offices open for at least an hour.   1912 marked the end of a 100-year battle about the sacredness of Sunday that sai... read more

My first request is that you not bail on this show because of its sports theme. I know some people just think that sports has nothing to offer them, and they turn their backs on a lot that's good. I've lost count of the people who didn't watch Friday Night Lights, one of the best fi... read more

Each of us has a good break up story from youth. And most of us can manage now, to make it kind of funny.  Because that's the only possible response to such searing pain. Breaking up, when it first happens, introduces us to a whole new kind of pain. We're in our teens. We've skinned... read more

I have come to believe that of all things bright and beautiful on God's green earth, there aren't very many that can't be ground up and mixed with something else and used as either an aphrodisiac or a performance enhancing sports supplement. Or both.   From intestinal whale secretio... read more

We know blood donation is important. One way this was confirmed for me was on 9/11, when blood centers were crammed with people - including me - all feeling helpless and all wanting to do something useful. The rest of the time, it's easy to forget. We know i'ts important, but we don't d... read more

If you follow music, you might know the work of Jubilant Sykes as a recording artist, and as a guest performer with orchestras. He's starring right now at Hartford Stage Company in a biographical play about another singer whose story begins during Reconstruction, "Breath & Imagination".... read more

Richard Blanco broke a lot of barriers in one gust of cold air this month. As the poet at the second Obama inauguration, he became the first openly gay, first immigrant, first Latino and youngest ever inaugural poet. Blanco was born in Spain to Cuban exiles. You can see and hear him... read more

Most language experts agree that English has more words than almost any other language, although it's difficult to pin down how many words any particular language contains. The Oxford English Dictionary has entries for roughly 600,000 words, but it also doesn't contain lots of commo... read more

I've heard They Mght Be Giants interpret Chumbawumba. I've heard Frank Sinatra do the Beatles. I've heard R.E.M. do Three Dog Night doing Paul Williams. I've heard Nancy Sinatra do the Beatles. I've heard Kurt Elling and Cassandra Wilson, both jazz singers, cover the Monkees. I've heard... read more

In the Satyricon by Petronius, I know, is that a pretentious opening or what? We read about the feast of Trimalchio. It's long, it's opulent, and precious. It's a satire of the moires of the moment. But them, as we digest it, it's a little more than that. It's an Instagram of a mome... read more

We decided, after much debate, to do a show addressing the bizarre and unpalatable conspiracy theories that have arisen in the wake of the Newtown massacre. We apologize for even having to do it. After what that town and those families have been though, it's sickening to think they... read more

When you think of all the things here on the ground that don't work right, the notion that we should consider traveling to other stars seems a little crazy. But one thing doesn't have to be the enemy of the other. A civilization that strives and reaches will solve a whole bunch of o... read more

The case for meditation is the state of the modern mind. Attention deficit disorder. Post traumatic stress. Anxiety. Addiction. Hopelessness. Depression. Suicide. I could keep going. We're loading up on meds, many of which will not work for us.   And then there's this other... read more

  I made today's Nose panelists go see Zero Dark Thirty, just to make sure we all had one controversy we could discuss.    That was before I realized how generous the week would be with controversy. The labyrinthine story of football player Manti Te'o and his imaginary girlfri... read more

Last Friday a young man named Aaron Swartz hanged himself. Most of us had never heard of him but in the upper echelons of the digital community, he was a legend, having helped develop the software for RSS feeds when he was 14 and having helped create the site Reddit a few years late... read more

If you feel some vague, latent sense of dissatisfaction with the way all the people around you look, it's possible that you're an unwitting victim of a culture in which digital technology allows for an unprecedented level of retouching, and airbrushing, and actual physical distortion of... read more

Today we're exploring the past present and future of literature, and we're using the notion of correspondence as a throughline.  We start with Daniel Mendelsohn who began, at age 15, writing letters to novelist Mary Renault.   The letters, recounted in a recent New Yorker es... read more

Highly publicized mass killings are usually done by young men. And when reporters and investigators start nosing around, they often find that the young man in question played video games.   But that's because almost all young men play video games.   In fact, video ga... read more

Here are the topics we'll be talking about on The Nose today.  First, the onset of the Awards Season, which seems to coordinate somehow with the onset of flu season. The Oscar nominations are out. The Golden Globes are handed out on Sunday, and there lots of other awards rattling ar... read more

The Monkees were the first group to exhibit all or most of the qualities we now associate with the term "boy band." They were assembled through auditions. They had a set of visual styles imposed on them. They were incredibly popular with tweenaged girls. They were plagued by the accusat... read more

Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is urging lawmakers to work with him to prevent future tragedies like the mass shooting at Newtown's Sandy Hook Elementary School. Malloy became emotional Wednesday as he spoke about the teachers and a therapist who sacrificed their lives to protect... read more

A long time ago in a football stadium far away, the sardonic pro football lineman Alex Karras complained about soccer-style kickers from foreign lands, notably Garo Yepremian, his teammate on the Detroit Lions. Karras said he disliked football games in which big beefy guys slugged i... read more

It's been a noisy week in Lake Profanity. The Speaker of the House told the Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate to "go eff himself." Twice.  Glamour magazine ran, on its cover, the s-word with one letter asterisked out -- a practice writer Steve Rushin refers to as "obscene hangman."... read more

When you say "spy from Connecticut" Nathan Hale pops up on everybody's mental radar.  But there are a lot of other, darker stories, and the idea for this show began when our intern Nina Earnest stumbled on the tale of a Russian transplanted to the small town of Thompson, Conn., but... read more

Today, two guests who chronicle shifts in spoken and written English will discuss new words and usages arising in 2012 and doubtless slipping over to 2013. But first, allow me to mention a few of my own linguistic beefs. Have you noticed how everything is curated these days? We need... read more

A romantic comedy about a substitute teacher recently discharged from a mental hospital after eight months of not necessarily complete treatment for bipolar disorder.  His potential object of affection? A woman whose own experience of psychic trauma has led her into a spree of promiscuo... read more

One of my resolutions for 2013 is to pay more attention to jazz.   It's not like I ignored it in 2012, but today's show, in which we discuss some of the great jazz releases of the year, catches me a little flat-footed. Here's a listing of our panelists' favorite releases:  ... read more

Quick! What do Lewis Carroll and Donald Rumsfeld have in common with Virginia Woolf and Oliver Wendell Holmes? They all wrote standing up. So did Ernest Hemingway, Albert Camus, Victor Hugo and George Sand. So did Philip Roth, Vladimir Nabokov and Thomas Wolfe. In fact, the number o... read more

One of the verbal melodies that sustained me during the past year was the notion that people can be divided into two camps: those who think they're living in a comedy and those who think they dwell in a drama. It's a useful -- to me, anyway -- means of understanding certain people a... read more

John Woodall is a psychiatrist whose work has taken him to Bosnia, New Orleans, Uganda, and to New York City after 9/11. In all of these places, his work has been with people recovering from widespread trauma. His area of interest is resilience. One of the terms he uses is "sufferin... read more

Watching the coverage of Newtown unfold on Friday, I grew upset by the number of wrong reports. The shooter was misidentified. His mother's connection to the school was wrongly portrayed. There were reports of an altercation between the shooter and school officials the day before. T... read more

We hear it all the time: America has a gun culture. What does that mean? It may mean that our history -- starting with the violent subjugation of Native Americans -- is the history of the gun, but that's more true as a narrative than as an actual fact.   Historians studying... read more

I'm not a big fan of getting ready to fight the previous war. Our next crisis will not be Adam Lanza. It will not be an exact replica of the facts of his life, not that we know those for sure yet. (I would say, parenthetically, that the worldwide rush to diagnose Lanza makes me mass... read more

  If you're not a hobbit or a college professor, smoking a pipe is a differentiator.    It's a signal to the world that your tastes run in a slightly unusual direction. The character played by Chion Wolf's brother Michael Gladis in the early seasons of Mad Men was one of those... read more

The recent stirrings in Texas have prompted us to do a show about secession, but it's important to note that, at any given moment, there are low level secessionist rumblings in many U.S. States. You may remember that in 2008, one of the many interesting aspects of Sarah Palin was he... read more

America's greatest living film critic David Edelsein comes to our studios today for a discussion of current films and, inevitably, the experience of seeing a film here in 2012. His colleagues A.O. Scott and Manohla Dargis recently suggested that the segmentation of the movie audienc... read more

One of our themes today is the iron fist in the velvet glove. Or maybe, sometimes, it's the other way around. We're all fascinated by the Elf on the Shelf craze. For those of you who don't know, this is a Christmas elf figurine with accompanying audio-visual materials. The idea is t... read more

How much of the Christmas story is true? Most scholars will tell you the December 25th date has much more to do with pagan festivals of the early Christian era. If you want people to celebrate something, pick a date when they're already celebrating. Many scholars have come to... read more

Do people care about their own history? Movie box office reports would suggest that they care about vampires approximately three times as much as they care about Lincoln and the end of slavery. Most people in Connecticut, I'm convinced, know almost nothing about the history of Conn... read more

Back in the 1990s, radio personality Don Imus met Hillary Clinton in person, during a time when his relationship with the Clintons was problematic. On his show, Imus spoke quite sincerely about how good the First Lady smelled.  And right then, hearing it, I wanted to meet Hillary Cl... read more

I grew up in an era when the "political humorist" was a segregated specialty.  Mort Sahl, Pat Paulsen, Mark Russell. These guys weren't part of the pack of regular comedians. It was the humor equivalent of a semi-obscure edical specialty. One saw them only occasionally. Like your de... read more

We're going to be talking about Life of Pi on the Nose today, but let me get my two cents in ahead of time. First, I kind of resent having to figure out what format to see a movie in. 3D?  2D? IMax? I saw Life of Pi in 2D on a really big screen, and I think I may have gotten the wor... read more

  The ukulele was not always obscure. Two of the biggest stars of the 20th century used them as their principal instruments. One is a name you probably don't know, but George Formby was a enormous sensation in Great Britain on stage and in movies in the 1920s and 30s. He specialized... read more

What didn't get covered as a full-blown campaign issue in 2012? Well, let's see. Climate change. Poverty. Gun control. Civil Liberties. Drone strikes. Housing. The War on Drugs. You may have your own list.    The campaign -- and media coverage of the campaign -- consisted of... read more

One very interesting and encouraging movement in modern life is the one that lures us away from conversations about normality and abnormality and toward ideas of diversity.  We see it especially in the autism spectrum, and the term neurodiversity invites us to consider the way we're... read more

The Grinch of dreaming is J. Allan Hobson.   Starting in the 1970s, Hobson - a Harvard psychiatrist and dream researcher - led a movement against Freud's notion of dreams as a secret garden of trauma, drama and hidden meaning.  Hobson called this "the mystique of fortune coo... read more

A good kids' song is sometimes just a good song. Show me a kid who doesn't perk up at the opening vocal lick on "Jackie Wilson (When You Smile)" by Van Morrison.   Songs actually written for kids can get a little bit tricky, but I'm a big believer in two compilations -- "For... read more

Here is Instagram by the numbers: The number you're mostly likely to know is $1 billion, which is what Facebook paid to buy Instagram, a photo-sharing phone application. Instagram has 30 million registered users. Those users have uploaded over 1 billion photos. The c... read more

If you know Paul Winter, you're most likely to know him as the musician who -- more than anyone else -- fused jazz and environmentalism, with a long series of recordings celebrating nature and lamenting extinction. He has come to be known most of all for his Solstice concerts at the Cat... read more

On this critical day in the life of American pseudo-food, I am again reminded if a tour I took in the 1980s with Zippy the Pinhead creator Bill Griffith. We visited in a Hostess factory in the Greater Boston area. We saw Twinkies being made. The visit was slightly harder to arrange... read more

What Is Now? - 11/15/2012
OK, this is potentially one of our weirder shows.  It arose from a conversation about one of those places where physics and neuroscience intersect. The question was: "Is there any such thing as 'now'?"   We talk about "now" like it's really there, but is it? Or is "now" a to... read more

Salem, Massachusetts gets all the notoriety, but Connecticut's prosecution of so-called witches started earlier and may have been more fierce. In “The Witchcraft Delusion in Connecticut 1647-1697,” John M. Taylor lists thirty-five cases between 1647 and 1697. There were at least... read more

I Love My Robot! - 11/12/2012
In the book "Love and Sex With Robots, writer David Levy lays out the case that: "love with robots will be as normal as love with other humans, while the number of sexual acts and lovemaking positions commonly practiced between humans will be extended, as robots teach more than is in al... read more

On today's show we carried President Obama first address to the nation since his re-election. We had planned a regular episode of The Nose -- a discussion of James Bond, marijuana legalization and a few endorsements. We'll still do all of that, but we'll start of with the president's sp... read more

In the fall of 1967, I was a deeply uncool 13 year old who knew relatively little about the Beatles. My English teacher that year was Tyler C. Tingley, freshly graduated from Harvard. Tingley started bringing Beatles records to class. I'm talking about Magical Mystery Tour and Sgt.... read more

Elections are the last remaining true mass market.  If you get 43 percent of toothpaste users to use a certain brand -- to love it above all others -- to buy it even when the competition is on sale, you are the King of Toothpaste. You have achieved what no other person could.  ... read more

Can it be? Is West Hartford the new Bridgeport? Election Day is unfolding before us, and right now the big lines and the unhappy faces are in West Hartford, which implemented a consolidation of polling places from 20 to 9. What could go wrong?   Meanwhile the campaign of Chr... read more

  Why do I feel like tomorrow's election is just the beginning of a second long messy national debate?   The candidates and the political parties are pretty clearly lawyered up. Any race that isn't a blow-out seems headed for a series of legal challenges on voting procedures... read more

It was not a typical week -- if there even is such a thing. The storm changed nearly every equation it blew through.  All of the political campaigns got a lot more tricky. On the Nose today, we'll talk about the following: The performance of Governor Dan Malloy as storm leader. The... read more

Bridgeport. Why is it always Bridgeport? The city is rapidly becoming famous for Election Day problems, and this year will be no exception. Power outages could cramp voting and so could the fact that ordinary polling places have now been converted to storm shelters.   On thi... read more

It's really possible that ten years from now, the main thing anybody will remember about this presidential election is that the two candidates had three debates and never mentioned climate change. Ten years from now, this will seem to everyone as astonishing as it seems to me right now.... read more

James Baldwin's book "Fire Next Time" takes its title from a gospel song about Noah, whose warnings were not heeded by others. "God gave Noah the rainbow sign. Said it won't be water, but fire next time." You'd think with that kind of story as part of our heritage, people would heed... read more

You could say we really have two storms today. There's the one on the coast and the one the rest of us have. The one the rest of us have will be pretty severe. The one on the coast is the one whose dangers are so intense and so complex that it's kind of a head scratcher.  For exampl... read more

This is going to be a bad storm, but it doesn't have to be personally catastrophic. There will be considerable loss of property, but loss of life and limb doesn't have to be terrible if people will get out of the way of the water. Easy to talk about. The persuading can be hard.... read more

I think is going to be a pretty bad storm. As it approaches, pulse rates go up. All the little physical and mental indices of fear begin to creep in and it's hard to sort out how much of that is warranted and how much is ginned up by a big nebulous fear industry.    The two... read more

Here are some things that are happening in the Connecticut races.  But first. Quick! How many Republican candidates for Congress can you name? Who's running against John Larson, Joe Courtney, Rosa DeLauro, and Jim Himes?   Even if you follow politics, you might not know the... read more

Glasses get people talking. Remember Sarah Palin? Last month, Politico ran an item suggesting that CNN's Wolf Blitzer had picked out new eyeglasses that closely resembled those of much younger, hipper New Yorker politics writer Ryan Lizza.   Watchers of the cable series "Boss" h... read more

Adult Fans of LEGO - 10/23/2012
One thing that tipped us into doing a show about Adult Fans of LEGO was the LEGO stop action animation of Felix Baumgartner's high altitude jump. The video seemed to go up almost immediately after the real thing, even though it clearly required extensive planning and shooting. When I lo... read more

A capella groups are less nerdy, more cool these days. You can attribute some of that to "Glee" and to NBC's "The Sing-Off" and most recently to the movie "Pitch Perfect," which is still in theaters. I don't know what this means, but one of the characters of "Full House" was into a... read more

Here are a few things that happened this week in the presidential campaign. Binders full of women went viral. Bruce Springsteen endorsed Obama and went on the road for him. Hillary Clinton made a pretty emphatic case for the idea that she will never run for anything again. Candy Cro... read more

The Watergate burglary was 40 years ago. Thirty-nine years ago, a freshman senator from Connecticut wound up on the investigative committee. Lowell Weicker was the first from his party to begin openly questioning the involvement of President Nixon, not only in the burglary but in a thic... read more

The very word "Viking" is complicated because it describes both a people -- those who lived in Scandinavian countries from 800 to 1100 -- and a behavior -- setting out in boats for trade, plunder, or both. How badass were Vikings? It depends on whom you talk to. On balance, they may... read more

A poll conducted in 1997 showed Congresswoman Barbara Kennelly leading incumbent John Rowland by four points.  On the strength of this, Kennelly was persuaded by party leaders to give up her seat and take on the Governor. Other possible challengers were persaded to move aside. Kenne... read more

  Several clashes were happening at once last night in the vice-presidential debate. There was the obvious one between Republican and Democrat, but there was a less obvious battle going on. Paul Ryan is part of a generational cohort that WILL run this country very soon. Joe Biden is... read more

My first interview about Shakespeare was the British actor, Kenneth Haigh, an adventure that turned into something out of the movie, "My Favorite Year", but that's a story for another day. The point is, Haigh was performing at the old Stratford Shakespeare Theater, just a ways down the... read more

I dug up an old photo of me and Gov. Ella Grasso, both wearing Army helmets. I guess it had to be 1979. She was inspecting the troops in Fort Drum in upstate New York. We were spending the day in very close quarters, first on an airplane and then in a series of small military helico... read more

Recently, we did a show about the politics of hair, and we talked about African hair, blondes, and gray hair - We didn't have nearly enough time to cover all hair types, especially redheads. So we decided to devote two segments of today's show to talk about the stereotypes redheads face... read more

Like just about anything else one delves into, the subculture known as furries is more nuanced, more varied and less sensational than mass media depictions of them. Furries are people who really like anthropomorphic depictions of animals. Sometimes they like them so much that they... read more

Hair is Political! - 10/08/2012
I can honestly say I never gave any thought to Michele Obama's hair or how it gets that way until we started preparing for today's show, which is about hair. I mean, I guess I've always thought she looks great, but that's about it.   But now that you mention it, I suppose th... read more

Trust Al Gore to come up with an out-of-left-field and yet completely plausible explanation for something people have been discussing for two days. Gore is the first to suggest that some of President Obama's Wednesday night problems, maybe a lot of them, were caused by the altitude... read more

Today, hear a live, in-studio performance by and conversation with the Punch Brothers, before their performance at Jorgensen Theater at UConn, Storrs. They are a five-piece band enjoying an explosion of critical esteem and new popularity over the past few years. Its leader, Chris Thile,... read more

We're all about last night's debate. The nation's go-to site on this topic, Presidential Debate Blog, is sort of based here in Connecticut, and we'll have its contributing editor, Mark Samburg, on the show. Leave your comments below, e-mail colin@wnpr.org or Tweet us @wnprcolin.... read more

On Being A Magician - 10/03/2012
A magic act is sort of a joke we're all in on, right? We may not know how it's done, but we know it's an act. This was not always that case with magic -- especially in the day when magicians were just as likely to be known as "conjurers."   In 1856, Napoleon III's Second Fre... read more

Mark Siegel, creator of "Sailor Twain," is doing wildly creative things with the graphic novel, which is doing widely creative things with the novel form iteself.  Siegel says the graphic novel is in a golden age, attracting writers not only from the book world, but from movies and... read more

The MacArthur Genius grants were just announced. One of them went to Junot Diaz, whom you will hear discussed today by me and short story writer Nathan Englander. So we're one degree of Kevin Bacon removed from a genius grant. On Thursday, we'll have an actual genius grant winner in... read more

For years I have been ignorantly fascinated by Game Theory. By that I mean I know there's this whole interesting study of strategy and decision making that would inform my understanding of a lot of things -- politics, business, psychology -- if I only knew more about it.   A lot of... read more

  For the second straight day, we're in downtown Hartford in a makeshift -- but very nice -- pop-up studio in an abandoned bank branch on the east edge of State House Square. The Nose, our weekly roundtable panel will  begin by talking about two projects that promise to breathe new... read more

There's an oft-cited quote from John Adams writing in 1808, after his presidency. "Connecticut has always been governed by an aristocracy, more decisively than the empire of Great Britain. Half a dozen, or at most, a dozen families have controlled that country when a colony, as well as... read more

I need a knee replacement, but I don't want one.   I keep thinking if I wait long enough, something new will happen. There will be a great leap forward in technology and knee replacements will become easier or somehow better.  Think about the level of medical entitlement that im... read more

You can bargain with almost anybody. Even the IRS. You probably think of them as being pretty inflexible, but IRS spokesperson Nancy Mathis told the website Learnvest: “People are always pleasantly surprised after they deal with our customer service representatives. We realize its been... read more

Artist, writer and experiemental philosopher Jonathon Keats explains his latest art project, Cloning Celebrity, which uses epigenetics to create "replicas" of President Obama, Lady Gaga, Michael Phelps, Oprah Winfrey, and Jennifer Lopez. Leave your comments below, e-mail colin@wnpr.... read more

This show has something to do with the fascination I feel for the minds of artists. They, more than we, are gripped by visions. They see something that's not there, and they want to make it be there. To see one of these visions take shape, first in the mind of the artist, and second... read more

What are parks for? We'll talk about that today as we examine an attempt by the City of Hartford to restrict informal games of soccer and Ultimate Frisabee that are occasionally played in Busnell Park.   This is a silly idea.    Bushnell Park is a wonderful space but it... read more

Today's show started with the fact that Tony Danza was available and willing to talk to us.  Tony Danza is one of those people who has been around long enough so that several generations have separate reasons for getting excited about him. There's "Taxi" and "Who's the Boss." But he... read more

For years now, we've been getting Wally Lamb, Eric Danton and Joan Holliday together to talk about pop music and share the little treasures they've found. It's always a fun show, and the three of them have great chemistry. Today's show was a little different, just because, more... read more

Introvert Pride! - 09/18/2012
Maybe you've seen somebody in your life lately reading a book called Quiet by Susan Cain. It seems to be getting passed around a lot and given as a gift to known introverts. The argument of the book is that our world treats the extrovert as normal and the introvert as diseased and n... read more

  Drinking fountains are such a great answer to everything.   Mayor Bloomberg wants New Yorkers to cut back on sugar drinks. Drinking fountains.   Too many bottles in the solid waste stream? Drinking fountains.   Water bottles that may leach chemicals... read more

  The story of the Islamic world uprising over a very stupid, cheesy and deliberately provocative movie is too vast to discuss on one show, but on "The Nose" today, we'll break off a little piece of it that is the movie itself, including all the people who worked on it and now claim... read more

Sitting behind me at the Tuesday night performance of Henrik Ibsen's "Hedda Gabler"was a couple in late middle age... or whatever comes after that. She: "He really gets women. He really gets the way they've been confined. Not that I ever was."   He: [indecipherable groan.]... read more

Mark Moffett (Adventures Among Ants) has been called the "Indiana Jones of entomology" and, for that matter, the "Martha Stewart of dirt." He has spent a lot of time prying open the closed worlds of ants, and he has developed, for the species, both an admiration and an apprehension.... read more

From Frank Abagnale in "Catch Me If You Can" to "The Return of Martin Guerre" to "The Music Man," we are entertained and amused by stories of impostors. We can also be incredibly, deeply creeped out by them.   The more you know of these stories, the more you realize that you... read more

Hooking-Up To Power - 09/10/2012
I did not participate in "hookup culture" when I attended Yale University. There were many reasons for that. World War I. The Russian Revolution. Also, nobody wanted to have sex with me. As you'll hear today, Yale in 2012 is one of the places journalists and academics are using... read more

One of the basic rules of showbiz is that you don't overshadow the star. Clint Eastwood is an entertainer, so you'd think he'd know that, but last night in Tampa, by the time he wrapped up his 11-minute rambling presentation -- delivered mostly to an empty chair in which, he pretend... read more

Here's how we see it. We get an hour a day on this amazing medium of public radio.On average, we do about 20 new shows a month, give or take. Do the math and that's about 230 or 240 episodes a year. To do that, we need to go pretty fast, and we started to worry that the countryside was... read more

It's hard to be sincere and not seem like a freak.  Martin Short milked years of comedy out of Ed Grimley, his high-waisted, Matternhorn-haired sincere stranger in an insincere strange land. Ed, without a particle guile or hypocrisy, seems like an utter lunatic.   On the oth... read more

I freely confess that today's show arose from my own sense of consumer exasperation. I don't buy many things, but occasionally one's cellphone breaks and one has no choice. I went to Verizon. The guy and I picked out a phone for me. He quoted me a price of $200 plus a $50 mail-in r... read more

Women do everything now, but not many of them do the auto mechanic thing. When was the last time you saw a woman handling sales in an auto dealership? On the repair side, the job keeps changing to place greater reliance on smarts and diagnosis, with less emphasis on brawn. That doesn't... read more

Do you give up on Lance Armstrong? Earlier today, Armstrong announced he has given up the fight against the US Anti-Doping Agency's charge that he used steroids and performance enhancing drugs. As Dave Zirin of the Nation points out: "Of the seventy top ten finishers in Armstrong’s... read more

Energy drinks aren't new. In the late 1800s, there was something called Vin Mariani, which was coca leaves soaked in wine and had about 6 miligrams of cocaine or more per fluid ounce. Thomas Edison drank it to stay awake. Ulysses S. Grant said it helped him finish his memoirs.  On t... read more

OK, type something pretty basic into Google. Pablo Picasso.  Right away you'll get services trying to sell you really crappy college papers about Pablo Picasso. You'll get Wikipedia, of course.  If you sharpen your search terms, you'll find other stuff, some of it even interesting. You... read more

Getting Lost - 08/21/2012
Daniel Boone, the great American frontiersman, is alleged to have said, "I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks." Most people today think they're lost if the voice on the GPS machine fades away for 15 minutes. I will confess an aversion to b... read more

My name is Colin McEnroe and I can't skate -- ice or roller. I don't really speak any foreign language all that well. I can't play guitar or piano and I'm fairly useless in a boat that's not a canoe or kayak. I'm pretty sure I can't split wood, and I don't know CPR, except from watc... read more

What's with all the fuss about the body of Paul Ryan? After last weekend's vice presidential announcement, the gossip site TMZ launched an immediate quest for a shirtless photo of Ryan. When they found it, they ran it with kind of an apology for how out-of-date it was. "While Ryan's... read more

“The clean cuts looked beautiful and weird. Endorphins sped through me. I spun around, growing dizzy, frantic, and silly … ‘I thought, I’ve found my new pharmaceutical deep inside.' I giggled fearlessly, manically at this and looked down at myself; hands, arms, chest, and belly covered... read more

A well known author. A Roller Derby athlete. A poet and performance artist. A farmer. A comedy performer. A psychology researcher. Those are just some of the people we sent out today to vote in the primaries and report on the experience. My experience was one of near desolation. The... read more

Today's show is about gay farmers -- and about the possibility that there's a gay farming movement. There's a documentary film about American gay farmers currently in the late stages of editing. And, as you'll learn today, there's a gay farmer reality show. But is it stretching a po... read more

American thinking about race has not caught up with American thinking about race. How can that be true? Well, we have have a black president and a large protion of the electorate clearly freaked out by having a black president. But wait, there's more. Sometimes it's easier to see th... read more

There are more than 800 miles of Blue-Blazed Hiking Trails in Connecticut. Today we're doing our show from one of them.  Hiking those trails, you can pass an old Tory hideout from the American revolution and, not terribly far away, the sprawling home owned by Mike Tyson and 50 Cent.... read more

In some ways, it's a miracle that we all travel together as well as we do.  We're jammed into small spaces, and those spaces are mostly getting smaller.  And Americans -- unlike, say, the Japanese -- don't use mass transit regularly enough to develop a nationwide set of deeply i... read more

What is cheating? In games, It takes myriad forms. There's the spontaneous cheating that mainly tests the watchfulness and judgment of the officials. How much can I push you or nudge you with my elbow? Can anybody see this cheap shot to your face as we football linemen hunker down befor... read more

If I told you that England is in the midst of a translation crisis, you'd probably assume it had something to do with the Olympics. Not so much. The British court system recently awarded a contract to one company, Applied Language Solutions, for all the legally mandated interpreting... read more

American identity is pretty fluid. Don't like who you are? Become someone else.  Snoop Dogg used to be Calvin Broadus. Now he's Snoop Lion, a Rastafarian reggae performer. He went from pot-worshipping rapper to pot-worshipping singer. And now he wants to be an American Idol judge an... read more

Bikers Beware - 08/02/2012
In 1896 -- a time when Scientifc American ran a regular "Cycling notes" column -- the following item appeared. "Count Leo Tolstoi, the Russian novelist, now rides the wheel, much to the astonishment of the peasants on his estate." Tolstoi was 67 when he took up riding. This is often... read more

There is well over 2 billion square feet of self-storage space in the United States. For some perspective, if every man, woman and child in the United States stood up straight, arms at sides, they would all fit into the storage space that already exists. In 2011, self-storage facili... read more

It's the last day of July. Our shows this month were about urban beekeeping, musical mashups as a distinct genre, anxiety, internet trolls, why certain songs get stuck in your head, artificially enhanced athletes, conversion to a different religion, a pervasive pop aesthetic called twee... read more

I'm what Daniel Smith, one of today's guests, would call a "stifler." I have anxiety attacks and  a lot of background anxiety, but most people who know me would have no idea how bad or how recurrent my anxiety is. Because it's embrassing, right? Our culture connects anxiety with a k... read more

Today's edition of The Nose is an occasionally tense conversation about a series of issues all of which swirl around the issue of free speech. Chick-fil-A, a sandwich chain, sends millions of dollars in corporate profits to vehemently anti-gay groups, including ones that practice “gay-t... read more

The city of Springfield, Mass. was founded by a nice guy who also happens to be an ancestor of the novelist Thomas Pynchon. William Pynchon led the first expedition to Springfield. He was looking for less rocky and more fertile land than he and his people had found in Roxbury, Mass.... read more

NOISE - 07/25/2012
Here is life imitating the show. I live in a quiet neighborhood, but last night there was heavy construction nearby. I'm guessing a water main broke out on one of the main roads. It wasn't loud in my bedroom but it was audible, especially the beep-beep-beep noise of heavy equipment back... read more

It's tough to generalize about internet trolls. If there's a common denominator, it's that they thrive on attention and response. An internet troll who is not making anybody crazy is not a happy troll.  In 2009, a troll calling himself Bob M. took up residence on the comment threads... read more

Last week Dannel P. Malloy got the kind of press coverage that governors dream of. Unfortunately, he got it in New Jersey, which is not the state he governs. A columnist for the Star Ledger revisited a two-year-old flare up between Malloy and New Jersey governor Chris Christie who taunt... read more

What a strange day. I've just been reading the final tweets of a very young journalist named Jessica Ghawi also known as Jessica Redfield. The tweets have to do with her excitement about attending the midnight premiere of "The Dark Knight Rises" at a multiplex theater about 10 miles... read more

Tomorrow night I'll be appearing with the comedy troupe Sea Tea Improv in a format requiring me to do little monologues based on prompts from the audience. The Sea Tea troupe will then improvise sketches based on my monologue. Frankly, I'm a little nervous because what if somebody c... read more

This is a strange time in the life of corn. The 2012 US corn crop is getting smaller by the hour because of the terrible heat and drought in the Midwest. It's difficult to know what that means, because from a certain perspective, this country produces way too much corn.  There's als... read more

There are musicians who believe in the idea of pure and original creation, but my anecdotal sense, after a lot of creations, is that far more of them see music as a kind of coral reef, constructed out of layers and layers of prior work and that if you hear something that sounds startlin... read more

When Oscar Pistorius runs, it seems like a miracle that he can run at all on those j-shaped carbon blades. The notion that they give him an unfair advantage in the 2012 Olympics is hard to swallow. On the other hand, those aren't the prosthetic legs Pistorius walks on in his daily l... read more

Every time I turned on my TV this week, there was a Tom Cruise movie playing. Are they able to do that? And by "that" I mean react so quickly to celebrity news that they can move somebody's back catalogue into the movie rotation of a cable channel. Maybe it was just a coincidence. Maybe... read more

Ingrid converted from lapsed Catholicism to Islam. Leah from high profile atheism to Catholicism. Soshanna from Christianity to Judaism to Wicca. Andrew from unbelief to the Unification Church.  They're all on the show today as we explore the notion of conversion. For some it comes... read more

This is one of those shows where you may start by saying, "huh?"  But with any luck, 30 minutes from now, you'll start to say, "Oh!"  I got interested in the word "twee" and in the idea that it's a mostly undocumented cross-platform artistic movement.   There is no question... read more

There are many kinds of nudism - or naturism. There are people who just like doing stuff while not wearing clothes. And there are those who believe there are hygiene benefits. And people who link nudism with various utopian movements that break down barriers among people. And there... read more

Urban Beekeeping - 07/09/2012
Here's what one New York City newspaper said about creating small urban farms in unused lots: "The first of these five farms was started just ten years ago by Mrs. Henry Parsons in what is now De Witt Clinton Park. At that time it might have been described as the sink of Hell’s Kitc... read more

After years of speculation, rumors, and whispers, we finally heard this week what we had long expected. The only problem is I can't tell whether I'm talking about the Higgs boson or Anderson Cooper. Today on the Nose, we'll talk about both and whether Cooper's revelation was less of... read more

The Remote Control - 07/05/2012
  I'm pretty sure I never had a TV remote until I got cable, which was some time in the 1980s.  That's not that unusual. According to one of today's guests, the percentage of television-owning households with remote controls did not break 50 until right around then.   Th... read more

We have a two-year running tradition of doing an episode in August gathering our music experts to argue about what song is the "Song of The Summer." (And on which critic Eric Danton suggests there is no such thing.) About a week ago, in a meeting, I mentioned that tradition and said... read more

First contact is probably not going to be like "Close Encounters" or any other sci-fi movie you can think of, because the likelihood of another civilization in the universe with technology even that close to ours is very low. In a weird way, the hilarious comedy "Galaxy Quest" offer... read more

In the past month or so we've done shows about nuns, quitting as a good thing, procrastination, puns, lawsuits, putting a chip in your head, poetry, design flaws, invasive species and women who fall in love with prisoners. And the month ahead will include shows about Nudism, First... read more

Rats! - 06/28/2012
Rats are political. Yes, I know all the jokes. But what I really mean is that the decisions about where there will be rats and where there won't be are all snarled up in politics. For a great local example, consider the 2004 article in Pest Management Professional. Headline - "Adria... read more

One of the many interesting questions about procrastination is whether writers are, as a species, the absolutely worst culprits or whether writers are just better at describing procrastination than other people. Here's Paul Rudnick on the subject: “As a writer, I need an enormous am... read more

Each year WNPR picks one day in the run on the International Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven  and moves both Where We Live and The Colin McEnroe Show to the lobby of The Study, a downtown hotel. We go to this trouble because we believe the festival really is something remark... read more

In the audio: Experts discuss the future of FCC regulation of TV and radio for indencent content. For broadcasters, messing around with the FCC on indecency is like playing jai alai in a pitch dark fronton. You can't see what's happening. You don't know the rules. On the other hand,... read more

“We’ve been fighting about gay marriage for what, 15-20 years now.  Is there any evidence that fighting gay marriage is contributing to a greater appreciation among the broad society of the marital institution? Is there any evidence that the re-institutionalization of marriage is happen... read more

“We’ve been fighting about gay marriage for what, 15-20 years now.  Is there any evidence that fighting gay marriage is contributing to a greater appreciation among the broad society of the marital institution? Is there any evidence that the re-institutionalization of marriage is happen... read more

In the audio: Colin talks to three outsider candidates who impressed people. Also, Jill Sobule and the McLovins take a crack at our fringe candidate song.  Early in this campaign cycle, I realized that I was far more entertained by and interested in some of the fringe candidates sho... read more

Prison Love - 06/20/2012
I never gave much thought to today's topic until 1990, when the Associated Press reported that a woman identified only as Margaret was engaged to be married to Dennis Coleman, serving a 34 year sentence for the murder of Joyce Aparo. The case -- for reasons I don't have time to explain... read more

  Click on the audio to hear Bobcat Goldthwait, Seth Godin and a former priest discuss why and how a person could decide that quitting is the right answer. If you want to know how completely reviled quitting is, just type the word into the search field of Twitter. You get a... read more

The problem with invasive species is, of course, that they compete for resources with local species, and sometime they're a lot better at it. and sometimes they just incidentally wipe something out.  There's a kind of invasive species called "The Oyster Thief" because it attaches it... read more

A quick rundown of this week's Nose topics: Uber coach Geno Auriemma was drawn into a lawsuit involving the NBA and one of its security officers.  The TV series Game of Thrones apologized for using a fake detached head of George W. Bush as kind of an "extra" in scene in wh... read more

Jill Sobule Live! - 06/14/2012
[Featured on the Audio to the left: A one-hour conversation and performance with and by Sobule in which she sings "Jetpack" and "Heroes" and some rarities.] Usually I hate pre-thinking my interviews. I do it, but I hate it. Today, writing down questions for Jill Sobule has been fun.... read more

What follows -- if you click on the audio -- is an unusually frank conversation among two nuns and two Catholic writers about the clash of values that lies underneath the recent reprimands by the Vatican of Margaret Farley and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. But fist: a li... read more

  To complain about modern design is, often, to feel ungrateful. As comedian Louis C.K. says, everything is amazing and nobody is happy. Having said that, at least once a day, I plug my smart phone into its charger, and quite often the connecter that goes into the tiny slot is not r... read more

(Before we go any further, this will explain why Pat Sajak is in Connecticut and, for that matter, on The Colin McEnroe Show.) Click on the audio to hear Pat Sajak and two of his friends talk about their lives, Hawaii Five-O and other pressing topics.  One of the most heavily read a... read more

What counts as a bad habit? And who should have the power to save us from one? That's a big part of our discussion today. This week, addictions were all over the news. New Yorkers are facing a ban on sugary drinks, while California chefs repeal a foie gras ban. A Massachusetts teen... read more

In 2005, driven by our shame of the scandals surrounding governor John Rowland and other public officials, Connecticut passed sweeping election and ethics reforms that were hailed all over the nation for making the state one of the leaders in cleaning up government. The Brennan Cent... read more

One thing we mostly don't do on this show is interview an "author who has a book out." As you can probably imagine, that's just about the easiest show or segment to schedule. We're barraged all day every day with solicitations from publishers and publicists. And usually we say we won't... read more

We're walking out on the minefield of tort reform today, and the reason we're doing it is that film-maker Susan Saladoff is in town. Her documentary "Hot Coffee" does a great job of exploring a meme that was everywhere in the 1990s -- a woman burned herself while opening a cup of co... read more

The idea of putting a chip in somebody's head invariably conjures up predictable waves of paranoid notions about mind control and the New World Order.  But as we found out in preparing today's show, that's not really the proving ground for this kind of research.    All day l... read more

Every year the Berkshire International Film Festival screens films everyone knows are going to make a big spalsh. This year, more than 70 independent films from around the country and the world, will be screened. We spoke with Kelley Vickery, co-founder of the festival and interview... read more

Today is our Summer Poetry Show, so let's begin with a poem. This is one of my favorites, a relatively obscure Pablo Neruda poem called "Let's Wait." Other days still to come are rising like bread or waiting like chairs or a pharmacopeia, or merchandise: a factory of days i... read more

Puns! - 05/30/2012
Puns are terrible, right? But then why do we love Groucho? When Mrs. Teasdale tells him: "This is a gala day for you," he says: "Well, a gal a day is enough for me." He also tells her: "You can leave in a taxi If you can't get a taxi, you can leave in a huff. If that's too soon, you c... read more

I'm convinced that people in Connecticut really hate and fear mass transit, which is why mass transit in this state is stuck the era of Don Draper from Mad Men. The way people react to the Hartford/New Britain busway project is basically the way Gollum reacts when he's tied up with Elvi... read more

Joel Stein will be at the Mark Twain house with Colin on Thursday, May 24th at 7:30 to talk about his book, "Man Made: The Stupid Quest For Masculinity". Get a preview of the evening with this conversation with Stein, including stories about going to boot camp, getting choked out, overc... read more

Maybe what Connecticut needed, during and immediately after the American Revolution, was a huge marketing campaign like the one recently announced. As most of you know, the state has just jumped into a $27 million marketing push with the slogan "Still Revolutionary." The only probl... read more

Sex After 60 - 05/22/2012
A few years ago Men's Health, one of the magazines I write for, spun off a brother publication called Best Life, which was specifically aimed at the generation a little older than the washboard abs, do-it-all-night target demo of Men's Health. And I was dispatched over there to write a... read more

All About Feet! - 05/21/2012
One night, a couple of years ago, I laid me down to sleep and discovered my foot was numb.  It was numb like Adam Sandler's chronically frostbitten foot in the cinema masterpiece "Mr. Deeds," wherein he invites people to whack it with a fireplace poker while he smiles blissfully.... read more

Donna Summer would have been a great pop singer in any era, but she happened to come of age in disco.  I'd go further than that and say that Donna, because she was a first class talent, lifted disco up out of what it had been -- a swamp of backbeats and heavy production -- and almos... read more

I once heard a story about Liza Minelli talking to a fellow singer about her approach to a song called "Bobo's Bar and Grille." It's a Kander and Ebb song and not one of their really memorable ones. Anyway, it turned out that Minelli had an explanation, a motivation, a strategy for how... read more

Humans In Flight - 05/15/2012
It's time to try defying gravity. You'd think we'd get accustomed to the sight of a person taking flight but we don't. When it happens in "Wicked" you can feel pulses race all over the theater. When I took my kid, years ago, to see Cathy Rigby in "Peter Pan," I inexplicably choked u... read more

Jack Hitt will speak at R.J. Julia Booksellers Thursday, May 17, at 7 p.m. Today I got into a Twitter debate with a guy who thinks the press spends too much time covering candidates who aren't really legitimate contenders. I'm on the other side of that these days. I told him I t... read more

Maybe we all live in the United States of Cranbrook. By that, I mean that we're all faced with choices, all the time, about how much we're going to stand up for the people getting the short end of the stick - whether they're poor, of color, gay or elderly. If that's true, then l... read more

It's just a dance, right? Actually, maybe that's the last thing the prom is. Maybe the photo is even more important, because it freezes you. It's your chance, as high school trickles away, to say "This is who I am. This will be who I was." We've been looking at prom photos by Ma... read more

Lunch here at WNPR is both a sad and a joyous affair. Those people who work on this show have, of course, almost no time for lunch. We mostly eat at our desks, but then so do most of our co-workers, even the ones on very different schedules. On the happier side, we have establis... read more

Fringe Physicists - 05/08/2012
Somewhere in the United States today, an envelope will arrive at a university math or science department, and in it will be some person's paradigm-shattering idea -- a novel theory that drastically violates or disrupts settled science. The world is full of outsider physicists and r... read more

Spoons! - 05/07/2012
Why are we doing a show about spoons? There are two ways to answer that question. Our basic philosophy is that anything can be made interesting, especially if you tilt it at lots of different angles. So, yes, today you'll hear about playing spoons as a rhythm instrument and about ho... read more

Today on The Nose, we link together a series of only marginally related stories. We'll start with the amusing tale of Michael Wolff, a well-known media critic who found himself in a standoff with New York City cops over his attempt to bring his own juice to the movies.He got caught... read more

Lately I've been trying to get to the gym more often, but of course the gym is full of people transferring germs onto equipment and, if I get sick, I'll stop working out. Anyway, I often feel both hungry and virtuous after the gym and there's a Whole Foods nearby where I can buy stuff t... read more

Twenty years ago, I got interested in those plastic -- usually white plastic -- outdoor chairs. "Resin casual furniture," as they were known in the industry. The most popular design was called a "bucket" chair. Like all design trends, they had a story behind them and a set of social... read more

What is a guilty pleasure? In seventh grade, I had not quite given up on series books. Specifically, the Rick Brant books which I would say were a lot more satisfying (I guess I can't say they were cooler)  than the Hardy Boy books, all 43 of which I read in fourth grade. Rick B... read more

Right now, you don't have to go more than a few days without Sherlock Holmes. I caught the second Robert Downey Jr. version on a plane a couple of weeks ago, and PBS's remarkable new version starring Benedict Cumberbatch opens up its second season Sunday night. I was a Jeremy Brett... read more

Some weeks are inexplicably more scandalous than others. This week began with a probe into millions of dollars in apparent bribes by Walmart officials in Mexico. And sitting alongside it was the slime spreading across the reputation of the Secret Service as more reports of strippers... read more

Why do we have such terrible political arguments? Are we really so divided? Topics like abortion, the death penalty, gun control, drug policy, tax policy all make us sound like a deeply divided nation, although I've long believed it's possible to formulate a position on almost anyth... read more

It seems clicheed, but here in Connecticut, shad is more than a fish. First of all, it's our official state fish. Second, it's linked to a peculiar fishing culture that barely exists any more. If you've driven down along the lower Connecticut River, you've probably seen those sad sh... read more

It's Primary Day in Connecticut. So everybody's excited about ... actually ... nobody is excited. Connecticut Republicans do seem energized by last night's Ann Romney speech at the party's Prescott Bush Dinner, and we're using the second half of today's political doubleheader to look at... read more

The best advertisement for our show on walking today is right out my window. I have a view of the sidewalk Wallace Stevens walked every day for 39 years from his home in the West End to the Hartford Insurance Group.   Stevens never learned to drive, but that's not the point. As... read more

There are many versions of the so-called "Proust questionnaire," which is meant to tease out a portrait of a person based on hopes, dreads, likes and dislikes. I just filled out one on the website of Vanity Fair, a publication which has put many hundreds of famous people through its... read more

There's been a lot of talk lately about the failure of the Pulitzer board to award a prize in fiction this year, and so today we're taking an in-depth look at that. If it did nothing else, this unusual step taken by the committee got people talking in a very animated fashion about conte... read more

You could easily become what producer Patrick Skahill calls "the music nerd whom nobody talks to at parties" by spending an hour a day geeking out on podcasts. Today -- with our music mavens Wally Lamb, Eric Danton and Joan Holliday coming in -- I was scrambling to sound just a tiny... read more

Earlier this week we had the opportunity to talk to comedian Mike Birbiglia. Birbiglia will perform his latest show, "My Girlfriend's Boyfriend," in Harford Friday, May, 4, at the Bushnell. He'll also perform in Stamford on Thursday, May 3, and Northhampton, Mass. on Saturday, May 5.... read more

You don't always get your big questions answered. I had a bunch of arguments with people who saw  Bernadette Peters  last year in the Broadway revival of "Follies." These people complained that Peters had disappointed them. I understand why. They wanted to hear her big sound, chest... read more

In the beginning, there was no Internet. If you were trying to pick out a restaurant in your town, you might ... ask your friends. If you were traveling far away you could ... ask your friends. Have they ever been to that place? No? No worries ... you can buy a guide book. But w... read more

One way chess is special is that everybody knows what chess is, but a far smaller segment of the population can actually play it. Chess is a big enough deal that the Fischer - Spassky matches held the world's attention for two months in 1972. And every few years there's a pretty goo... read more

One of the tropes I always wonder about is the decanter of whiskey. I am 57 years old, and never in my life, during a personal or business conversation, has a person strode across the room to the whiskey decanter, poured one for each of us and returned with the two tumblers. But in mo... read more

I don't look forward to political debates. There are too many of them. They reveal far too little. And nothing interesting ever happens. Except last night. Five Democratic hopefuls seeking the US Senate nomination debated under the auspices of WVIT or ... NBC30 ... or whatever we're... read more

We tend to see familiar patterns in the life around us. When a Trinity student was badly beaten on a street bordering the college, we saw violence coming from the neighborhood. When the Hartford police released a description of the suspects as white women and men in their twenties, many... read more

  It's been a month since a Trinity student was brutally assaulted just off campus. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, police say one possibility they're looking into is that his attackers may have been Trinity students.   Student Chris Kenny was severely beaten on March 4th.  Bu... read more

  In 2011, I developed a slender little apercu which I kept repeating to myself at appropriate moments: "Britain is a foreign country."    That might seem obvious, but we don't always think of it that way. Sometimes we think of the United Kingdom as a closely shared culture... read more

Today's show was the brainchild of producer Betsy Kaplan, but it seems like something I might have thought up, just to deal with some (de)pressing problems in my life. I'm 57. I have arthritis in both knees. One of the magazines I write for wants me to do, this fall, a Gran Fondo, a bik... read more

"All media work us over completely."  So said Marshall McLuhan. It was clear to McLuhan in the early 1960s and it's even clearer to us that engagement with fast-moving electronic media is producing changes that are hard to keep track of. What if somebody wanted to produce certai... read more

While traveling earlier this week, I was thinking about how easy it is to research almost any aspect of an experience and get an online, nearly real-time appraisal of the restaurant, hotel, shuttle service, store or tourist attraction you're dealing with. Sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor... read more

Why are we talking today about "Game of Thrones," an HBO series that begins its second season Sunday night? The numbers alone are impressive. Three million people watched the final episode of the first season, which is a lot for a fantasy show on a cable premium channel. When you ad... read more

Let's say you're married. You have a dog. Your first child is on the way, but it's 2012 and the economy's not doing so hot and you're living in your parent's basement. You have to get out, that's for sure. So what do you do? Do you buy a house or do you buy a rental? I'm Mark Op... read more

Which is a worse way to die: the Spanish influenza that nearly killed off Elizabeth McGovern in Downton Abbey, or the respiratory virus that took out Gwyneth Paltrow in the movie Contagion? They both look terrible, and we're fortunate to live in a time, and in a country, where pande... read more

One of the many nice things about working here at WNPR is that our chief engineer Gene Amatruda actually seems to like setting up our studio for concerts. And every time Gene does it, the studio sounds a little better. I caught some of String Theorie on Where We Live last week, and I wa... read more

We now take some things for granted about voting in Connecticut. 1.) It’s gonna happen on a Tuesday. 2.) You’re going to have to register in advance - then go to a polling place and hope you’re on the list. 3.) You’re going to “bubble in” your choice on a piece of paper - ye... read more

Baseball season puts us in mind of those great baseball names --  Van Lingle Mungo, Prince Fielder, Napoleon Lajoie, Nestor Chylack, Rabbit Maranville and Lancelot Phelps. Actually ... Lancelot Phelps wasn't a baseball player. He was the first person elected to Congress from Connec... read more

If I tell you that today's show looks into the near future and sees a wave of new drugs and other therapies that can enhance moral behavior, maybe you'll tell me: enough with the science fiction. But in some ways, the drugs are already here. Oxytocin, sometimes known as the love hor... read more

The Robin has had it too easy for too long here in Connecticut. It was named our state bird by law in 1943. And what has it done since then? The robin's scientific name is turdus migratorius, but, as you may have noticed, not all of them do migrate. A small percentage of robins, for wha... read more

I grew up thinking I didn't like Irish music, because I thought Irish music was "Danny Boy," "Dear Old Donegal," "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling," and "McNamara's Band." I was well into what passes for my adult life when I started to hear both Irish traditional music -- they call it "trad"... read more

True story ... last week, the Connecticut legislature's Environment Committee's public hearing agenda included, on the same day, An Act Permitting the Possession of Reindeer Year Round and An Act Concerning the Hunting of Deer with a Pistol. This is why I don't celebrate April Fool'... read more

The Joseph Kony internet meme is racing across our hive mind with a speed and force almost unprecedented, at least for something serious. The video about the Ugandan opposition leaders seems to have had about 35 million views in one day. And the videos and its makers now have the suppor... read more

When I talk to you about drones, I'm mostly likely to evoke a mental picture of a fairly large unmanned aircraft, carefully guided by a crew on the ground, perhaps able to launch missiles, and operating in a foreign theater of war.    That's way out of date.   First of a... read more

What is the truth? It's a question that comes up a lot in the news. Is Barack Obama a Muslim? Were there weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?  Did 9/11 happen as we were told? Was JFK killed by a lone gun man? Were there any real instances in which Vietnam veterans were spat upon? Is th... read more

One theory is that Supreme Court justices are supposed to be seen and not heard. Or, put another way, read ... but neither seen nor heard. They're supposed to be inscrutable. That's just a theory. Antonin Scalia has never had much use for it. He gives speeches. He grants interviews.... read more

It was not a week in which men distinguished themselves. Rush Limbaugh attacked a woman college student in unforgivable language. Ticket executive Donald Vaccaro triggered multiple crises with his outburst at a Hartford party. A deputy commissioner in the Malloy administration lost his... read more

Wow. When I decided to do a show on genetically engineered foods, I had no understanding of the bitterness and distrust that exists on both sides of the issue. This is one of those debates in which pretty much everything is contested, from the credentials of the person talking against y... read more

Maybe choice and autonomy are overrated. We live in a world where the notion of marrying someone picked out by somebody else is damn near terrifying. Autonomy! We have to have it, right? But then, a lot of our marriages don't work out so well. The rate of divorce in the world of arrange... read more

Connecticut is a strange political state. We’ve been home to (and given comfort to) mavericks and outsiders of all kinds (long before John McCain and Sarah Palin changed the way we think of mavericks). Jerry Brown was our idea of a Democratic presidential candidate in 1992. And Joe Lieb... read more

Today's show is already breaking some kind of record for communications from the outside world received in advance of the actual episode. As soon as the promo started airing, we started getting emails, and what those emails told us was: a. that people who keep chickens really love t... read more

I'm even grumpier than usual about the Oscars, which I both love and hate. Most years, I have a movie I love that's somewhere in the hunt. Last year, even though I knew "Winter's Bone" wasn't going to win anything, it was fun to root for it. The year before, I most rooted against "A... read more

Mort Sahl was one of the true American -- actually he was from Canada -- ironists, in the sense that his lines -- I can't really call them jokes -- were more likely to make you think than make you laugh. Of President Bush in 2004, he said, "He's the face on the can. But who canned t... read more

At the outset, Downton Abbey looked like just another PBS costume drama. But it came in from England with a little extra buzz, and then it picked up steam with viewers. By the end of its first season, it had become appointment television for a lot of people who don't ordinarily watc... read more

Just the other day my 12-year-old mixed breed dog Malcolm, also known as Ralph, had his first ever professional bath and grooming. The groomers were a little wary at first because 12 year old dogs can be set in their ways and because they could see that Ralph is part Chow. The only way... read more

Quick. Who are the speakers in the following quotes? "My audience is God. ... The right way to play is not for others and not for myself, but for God. I’m still learning to be selfless and submit myself to God and give up my game to Him.” Quote Two: "I invited God to become the... read more

I cook whenever possible. I experiment a lot with ingredients. But I wouldn't say I had a sharp sense of taste. I'm in the group of "medium tasters" who make up 50 percent of the human eating population. Lately I've been using pink salt, mainly because a guy at a farmer's market gav... read more

What is 3-D printing? One of our guests today, Michael Weinberg explained it better than I could: "Essentially, a 3D printer is a machine that can turn a blueprint into a physical object. Feed it a design for a wrench, and it produces a physical, working wrench. Scan a coffee mug wi... read more

It may be hard for some of you to remember, but there was a time when the correct answers to the clues to the New York Times crossword puzzle were for all intents and purposes out of reach. I mean, you could take the Sunday magazine with you to the library and look stuff up. Or you coul... read more

There was a time when nobody studied dust. In fact, two kinds of nobody studied two kinds of dust. Astronomers were annoyed by interstellar dust because it got in the way of what they were looking at. It look a long time for them to realize the dust itself was worth looking at. Same... read more

We're in New Haven today, borrowing the Faith Middleton studio to do the Nose with a stellar Elm City lineup of Emily Bazelon from Slate, Jack Hitt, often heard on This American Life, and Mark Oppenheimer, who is pretty much everywhere. The topics, however, are not all that differen... read more

Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon, but the first man to urinate there was Buzz Aldrin, just a little ahead of Neil. The two astronauts relieved themselves into bags within their suits, then removed the bags and left them on the lunar surface. When you gotta go, you go... read more

A year ago, Dannel Malloy's job fell into the general categories of triage and emergency medicine. The state's fiances were broken. He had to get the patient stabilized so the process of care could begin. This year, to extend the analogy, the patient is out of intensive care but not out... read more

Sooner or later in every American political cycle, religion rears its head. The debate over Barack Obama's former pastor Jeremiah Wright is still fresh in our minds. In the presidency of George W. Bush, there were many questions about the degree to which his faith shaped his policies an... read more

Do Super Bowl commercials hold up a mirror to, well, anything? Maybe, by the time you've paid three or four or seven million dollars for the time, plus your production costs, you've entered such a realm of insanity that it would be impossible to connect your final product back to anythi... read more

The sudden news that the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation has apologized and essentially reversed itself on the issue of defunding Planed Parenthood is yet another example of the incredible power of the internet.  Yes, in the old days, an issue like this could simmer on the st... read more

Today we have what I think of as the Terry Gross Problem. I'm always impressed by the way Terry Gross just leads with her own pop culture tastes and doesn't seem to worry too much about whether her audience is on the same page. She'll do a whole show interviewing people from the sho... read more

How big is online dating? In one recent month, the major dating sites had more than 593 million visits in the United States according to an internet tracking firm. That's not dates. That's just people checking profiles, sending messages and stuff like that. There may be as many as 30 mi... read more

Even if you think you have absolutely no relationship to Christian metal, you might have to think again, especially if you were a faithful watcher of "Friday Night Lights." Remember Landry's band Crucifictorius, which was almost called Stigmatalingus? That was a Christian speed metal ba... read more

Here's a quote: "A clown is funny in the circus ring. But what would be the normal reaction to opening a door at midnight, and finding the same clown standing there in the moonlight?" Sounds like a 21st century post-modern take on clowns, but it actually comes from Lon Chaney, the... read more

I was appalled by the now famous taco comment by East Haven mayor Joe Maturo. The mayor had two jobs to do when the story broke last Tuesday about the arrests of four policemen. He had to assure the world that he was taking it seriously and that East Haven was not a hotbed of both casua... read more

OK, how many of you have at least thought or daydreamed about putting on a costume and fighting crime. Childhood doesn't count. As a kid I had my whole superhero life planned down to the smallest details. I had figured out -- this is depressing -- that my secret lair would be inside... read more

My e-mail inbox is full of pitches for memoirs. Here's one by Deirdre Marie Capone called, "Uncle Al." The press release refers to Al Capone as her uncle and promises us inside-the-family insights about the Valentnie's Day Massacre as well as "authentic Capone family recipes."  It c... read more

The lead story in today's New York Times is the second donation, by one married couple, to a Super PAC supporting Newt Gingrich. Miriam Adelson gave $5 million. Her husband Sheldon had already given he same amount. They may be just getting warmed up. They've talked about spending $2... read more

Sitting in a movie theater, watching previews of coming attractions, I was surprised to see scenes from a movie in which a pack of wolves is methodically stalking and attempting to kill the human survivors of a plane crash. That just isn't the wolf I know, not that I know any wolves who... read more

Newt Gingrich, Frencesco Schettino and singer Lana Del Rey. They've all had bad weeks and probably none of them wants to be lumped in with the other two. All three have come in for quite a bit of scorn over the last few days, and they'll all be discussed on this episode of The Nose.... read more

It's hard to keep an even keel about the debate over the two Internet anti-piracy laws known as SOPA and PIPA. Yesterday's spectacle, if it revealed nothing else, showed what a flimsy connection there is between a congressmen "co-sponsoring" a bill and that same congressmen knowing... read more

It seems oddly fitting that today we're doing a show about performers and writers who, rather than seek the approval of publishers and entertainment companies, put everything together on their own. They produce. They publish. They market. They, if all goes well, collect. Even as we... read more

We tell ourselves that Connecticut weathered huge storms last year, and that's both true and not true. Irene, for example, never struck Connecticut as a hurricane.  Any kind of hurricane. Irene's sustained winds reached about 50 mph. Let's look at another I storm, Hurricane Ivan whi... read more

You might have missed it, but this week saw an interesting discussion of the very nature of journalism. It was triggered by the New York Times Public Editor Arthur Brisbane, who wrote a column asking whether reporters should challenge, examine and in some case rebut vague but untruthful... read more

Let me tell you about the last six days of my life. I've seen, in theaters, "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," "Martha Marcy May Marlene," "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," and, in IMAX format, "Mission Impossible -- Ghost Protocol." At the Bushnell, I saw opening night of the national tour... read more

The word "meme" is a great example of a meme and of a word that was very quickly and totally absorbed into the language. Thinker Richard Dawkins proposed the word in 1976 to refer to a unit of information that can be passed around. My guess is that it sat pretty quietly until the 19... read more

If you're anything like me, your knowledge of neutrinos goes something like this: They are extremely small. Smaller than other really small things.   John Updike wrote a poem about them. There's something inherently funny about them. It might be their name. It mig... read more

Last night I had a terrible dream about a show in which this thing you're reading now -- we call it the billboard -- didn't get done the right way, because I didn't write it correctly nor did I allow enough time to fix it. And there were similar problems, in the dream, with Wolfie's int... read more

The national political media spend about a month trying to convince you that Iowa's caucuses are important. Now they're going to spend a week telling you why they don't matter. On his blog PressThink, media critic Jay Rosen argued this week that: "The Iowa Caucuses are presented as... read more

Why do we watch television comedies? Of course, because we want to be amused. But I think we also watch because their ensembles beckon to us. They're a group of friends or co-workers, a little more diverse and a little more entertaining than our own circle of friends of co-workers.... read more

This show is happening partly because my TV set broke. It was a big flat screen Samsung purchased in 2008, and it suddenly wouldn't turn on. I asked about TV repair on Facebook and was surprised at how many people told me that nobody fixes anything anymore. So I posted again on Face... read more

David Weinberger, our guest today, argues that our reservoir of information has become so huge and complicated that one of the standard activities of knowledge-making -- shaping facts into testable theories and equations -- doesn't really work any more. Scientists take data and build mo... read more

The job we do here tends to breed a mild case of optimism, because we spend a lot of time talking about new ideas. If we spent a lot of time talking about the status quo, we'd be more pessimistic because so many basic institutions -- political, financial, medical and cultural -- all see... read more

Whether it's 30 minutes of 24 hours, time under anesthesia is time you'll never get back. Anesthesia finds the light switch of the brain and flicks it off. We're not conscious, we don't feel pain, we don't remember ad we don't move. Even now, 165 years into the age of anesthesia, we kno... read more

Like pretty much everybody else on the planet, I bought my first jazz recordings in college. Thirty-five years later, I still feel inadequate and intimidated by a lot of what I hear. I think listening to jazz is sort of a muscle. Either you use it or it atrophies. For today's show,... read more

On the Internet, gossip lives forever. Type the name of journalist Jeffrey Toobin into Google, and you'll get his Wikipedia entry and bios of him from the New Yorker and CNN, his two principal employers. From there, that first Google page quickly deteriorates into items about Toobin... read more

Everything contains its own opposite said the philosopher Heraclitus. From Freud and Erikson we came to understand this in terms of forbidden impulses. In his 2011 book "Boomerang," Michael Lewis dwells on the notion that Germans -- despite or because of -- their cultural obsession with... read more

Today's show was sort of a political grab bag. We drilled down -- that might be the first time I've ever used that expression -- on the subject of political endorsements, which are flying around fast and furious right now.  We'll also alighted briefly on the issue of reapportionment, wh... read more

We are constantly confronting death. If you watch those CSI shows, you see death. If you watch cable shows, like "Boardwalk Empire", you see gruesome grisly death. If you watch the news or read the paper, you find out about people who died. But none of them are us. They're abs... read more

We're bringing our music experts in today to give you their picks, especially those of you who have to buy stuff for other people during the holiday giving season. I decided to get out of their way and not bring in any picks of my own, but I'll use this little unencumbered moment to men... read more

The person with the best take on the death of Christopher Hitchens would have to be Christopher Hitchens. Here he is: "The only position that leaves me with no cognitive dissonance is atheism. It is not a creed. Death is certain, replacing both the siren-song of Paradise and the... read more

I have a problem. The computer that was the home base for my iTunes has died, so the only place my iTunes exist is on my iPod. If you tell me I should have backed up my iTunes, I will hit you. I googled this whole problem and learned that solutions do exist. I tried one of them... read more

It's the holiday season! Christmas, Hanukah, Christmakuh, Kwanza, or as advertisers like to think of it, the season when they separate you from your money. Today on the Colin McEnroe Show, we're going to talk about Christmas advertising. You can't escape ads. They're on television,... read more

Last year, while filing in to a holiday party, I overheard a woman grumbling about how much she dislikes having people in stores greet her with something neutral like "Happy Holidays."  "I let'em know!" she snarled. "It's Merry Christmas." I didn't say anything. But how merry... read more

Matthew Carter is the Oprah of fonts. He has created Georgia, Tahoma, Bell Centennial and Verdana. Everything he touches turns to gold. For his troubles, Carter recently received a Mcarthur Genius Grant. We're thrilled to have him on he show today, but even more thrilled by the topic of... read more

From the size of the police presence that descended on Occupy Hartford's Turning Point Park yesterday afternoon, you would have guessed that General Zod and his super powered confederates had burst out of the phantom zone. Instead, the enormous caravan of cruisers, horses and police equ... read more

Have you noticed that nothing is ever quite funny enough? Last night I was reading a story in the New Yorker and glancing at the cartoons and kind of gasping at how not funny they were. Hey, this is the New Yorker! It's not like there's some place else for all the better cartoons to... read more

Why are we doing a show about David Foster Wallace? It's the kind of question Wallace himself would have enjoyed asking.  He might have even made it a central issue in the show, returning to it over and over again, palpating it. The simple answer is that we see Wallace and his w... read more

The Pledge of Allegiance is a 20th century creature. It was written at the end of the 19th century by a Christian socialist minister as part of a general push toward American nationalism, with special regard for the flag. I find people all the time who think  it dates back to the foundi... read more

Saint Nicholas of Myra was a 4th century Greek bishop from an area that is now Turkey, so it is my position that he was a dark-skinned man, as opposed to the chubby rosy-cheeked walking cardiac time bomb of modern depictions and also as opposed to any kind of Norse, Gandalfian adaptatio... read more

Where to begin? Juan Williams is on the show today and will join me for a conversation at the Mark Twain House Friday night. Williams became, in 2010, the human embodiment of a conversation about public broadcasting and the media in general. The surface narrative was that Juan Will... read more

I was in the parking area next to Yale Bowl two Saturdays ago as word spread around the clumps of tailgaters that there had been a fatality in one of the lots. Details were sketchy, but everyone seemed to know that people had been hit by a motor vehicle. And for a lot of us, the shadow... read more

On "Battlestar Galactica" the Cylons were a much-despised race of human-like machines made by man, and the ethnic slur for them was "toaster." I think that's because a toaster is such a humdrum and servile machine. Not much of an inner life. Just sitting there, at our disposal, waiting... read more

In 2006, readers of the New York Times were treated to photographs of Canto and Owen.  Canto had been following a version of the supposedly life extending calorie-restricting diet. He looked youthful and alert and healthy. Owen had been eating a reasonably healthy, traditional diet.... read more

When I was a kid, my parents fell into the practice of dropping me off at churches they themselves had no intention of attending. So for a while, in the 1960s, I joined the Universalist Church on Fern Street in West Hartford. I went to services and Sunday school and, somewhere aroun... read more

Samuel Beckett's plays are the little black dress of modernist literature. They go with anything. I saw the South African actors John Kani and Winston Ntshona perform "Waiting for Godot" around 1980. The play seemed like it had been written ABOUT apartheid, because Beckett's bleak c... read more

What will big business head honchos learn from the fall of CL&P's Jeff Butler? Maybe they'll learn not to be the face of the company during a big disaster. Somebody talked Butler into handling CL&P's press briefings personally, even though the company has a whole staff of mouthpiece... read more

Is creativity an act or an attitude? In Man on Wire, Philippe Petit, the high wire artist who walked between the twin towers of the World Trade Center in 1974, says, “To me it’s so simple that life should be lived on the edge of life. You have to exercise rebellion, to refuse to taper y... read more

Few novelists of the past 50 years have enjoyed the huge success and lengthy renown of William Styron. With Sophie’s Choice, Lie Down in Darkness, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Confessions of Nat Turner, Styron established himself as a masterful chronicler of the American experienc... read more

Reality is composed of the public and the private. Paul Marcarelli was the Test Man, the "Can You Hear Me Now" guy for nine years of iconic commercials. During that time, he believed he could not identify himself as a gay man without affecting his income stream. The Test Man had to be E... read more

New York did not cover itself in glory last night as it used the wee small hours of the morning to play rough with the press and Occupy Wall Street. Reports are jumbled, but there doesn't seem much doubt that reporters doing their jobs were shoved around and in some cases arrested.... read more

Newsflash -- on this show Garrison Keillor threw cold water on his much-publicized earlier statements that he would retire from PHC in 2013. You can hear him say, on the audio here: :"I’m starting to doubt that myself. I’ve been thinking about it, thinking: what else would I do? And... read more

During the Arborgeddon storm, mayors became unusually important and unusually petulant. To an unprecedented degree, the towns seemed cut loose from their moorings. The state couldn't deliver much help and the utility -- well, why even go there. Toward the end of the cycle, there... read more

It was Good Friday, 1982, and I was up in the balcony at the Lit Club in Hartford, a punk rock epicenter housed in the Lithuanian American Club in Hartford. National acts like Black Flag, Killing Time and the Circle Jerks played the Lit in its heyday, but its local heroes were Jack... read more

"You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity." So said Ralph Waldo Emerson who saw, even in the 19th century, the way civilization puts artificial spaces in the natural order of things. Nature i... read more

Jewett City, a community of 2.5 square miles in southeastern Connecticut, has its own power company, owned by the town. There are seven non-profit companies like this in the state. They're small, which means they can coordinate closely with other branches of government. Heck, they c... read more

Yesterday, Wolfie and I walked the Wallace Stevens route with our friend the Hartford film-maker Helder Mira and intern Andrew Kufta. We started at the first marker. As we traversed the route, we asked people we saw to read stanzas from 13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird. It's a very... read more

The Christian Science Monitor has this tale of the tape: "Power outages in Connecticut hit 831,000 customers. As of Wednesday morning, power had been restored to about 284,000 of those customers – one-third of the peak." In Massachusetts, 450,000 customers – almost two-thirds of... read more

In September, Jill Abramson became The New York Times' first female executive editor. She replaced Bill Keller. We talk to Abramson about her vision for the newspaper and the future of online media. On Friday, Nov. 4, Abramson will be honored by the International Festival of Arts an... read more

In the audio embedded here, you'll hear Wednesday afternoon interviews with Gov. Danel P. Malloy, energy and environment commissioner Dan Esty, a vice-president for CL&P, an electrical workers' union official, a key state legislator and a consultant on how utilities can change their inf... read more

We're still a long way from becoming a "cashless" society, and maybe we never will be one, because the phrase freaks some people out. Cashless society means, to them, some kind of mark or implant on your hand or head and a surrendering of freedom and control to a shadowy blobby new worl... read more

The freak October storm that hit the state this weekend caused more power outages than Hurricane Irene. And, for people in many parts of the state, it could be at least a week until they get their power back. Transmission lines are out to the Northwest corner of the state - where many t... read more

The question is bubbling up right now because Texas governor Rick Perry wants to stop participating in debates. In fact, he told Bill O'Reilly, “These debates are set up for nothing more than to tear down the candidates. So, you know, if there was a mistake made, it was probably ever do... read more

You're about to meet Poster Boy, an artist who defaces and rearranges advertising posters so that new messages appear. His work is up at Real Art Ways and we recorded this interview late last week. You may detect in me a little frustration over the fact that he wanted to appear only... read more

Hear from Jonathon Keats, a conceptual artist, experimental philosopher, and regular CMS contributor, whose latest project is an exhibit that tries to make art more consistent with the Copernican truth that Earth is a mediocre planet.  Plus, find out what the color beige has to do w... read more

It has been called "The Forgotten War", but it's not forgotten by writer and director John Sayles, who is on the show to talk about his newest film about the Philippine-American war, "Amigo". Mark Twain said, "There is the case of the Philippines. I have tried hard, and... read more

Shakespeare is back on television in a big way. You can't watch commercial TV for 45 minutes without seeing an ad for the movie "Anonymous," opening Friday and advancing the argument that Shakespeare's plays were not written by the Stratford commoner but by a British nobleman. The d... read more

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd recently wrote that Ernest Hemingway, on the 50th anniversary of his death by his own hand, is having a bit of a renaissance. Some of the fuel for that is porovided by the publication of the first -- of a planned 16 volume -- collection of his l... read more

There ARE city Repiblicans, but in New Haven, there's an 18-1 registration ratio, and there are no Republican candidates running for Alderman or Mayor. In Hartford, the Republicans have crossed-endorsed Mayor Segarra. Hear from Hartford Republicans about why it is that the Republican pa... read more

Lawn signs stir the blood during election season, and when you think about it, it's understandable. There aren't that many measurable forms of political activity before an election. But two campaigns can compete about who can get the most signage up. Campaign volunteers like the... read more

Is Connecticut funny? Is Connecticut anything? In 1992, film-maker Ken Simon made a documentary attempting to probe the identity of the state. He interviewed a range of "experts," including me. The title of this documentary? "Between Boston and New York." That tells you somethin... read more

There are parallels -- and I don't think I'm forcing them -- between indie rock musician Mike Doughty -- whom you'll hear on the show today, and Mahler's first symphony, which Hartford Symphony conductor Caroyln Kuan will discuss in advance of performing it for the next four nights.... read more

Being a police chief is a difficult job. Chiefs manage an entire department and have to contend with politicians, citizens and unions. It's hard to satisfy everyone. In Connecticut, there's recently been a lot of shakeups among police chiefs. Here's our story so far - In Hartford, p... read more

"Never be deceived by a humorist, for if he is any good he is a deeply serious man moved by a quirk of temperament to speak a certain kind of truth in the form of jokes. Everybody can laugh at the jokes; the real trick is to understand them." These are the words of the Canadian writ... read more

Some of my best friends are DJs, but for me, there's something magical about a band -- at a wedding or just about any place else. Sure, a DJ can bring a few thousand songs, but in a way that adds to the mystique of the band. When they play a song you like, it's even more of a gift.... read more

Are we all entitled to a few blind spots? If so, one of mine is newspapers. I keep thinking somebody is going to find ways to improve them and make them thrive, even as the evidence of my own eyes suggests the opposite. Today on The Nose, one of our panelists is Susan Campbell from... read more

Roz will be signing WHAT I HATE at Books on the Common in Ridgefield, CT Saturday, October 22 at 2 p.m. In 1978, Roz Chast published her first New Yorker cartoon and one could argue that many things were never the same again. The magazine had never had a superstar woman cartoonist,... read more

There are a lot of made-up languages with big fans. You may have heard of Na'vi from the movie Avatar, or Elvish from Lord of the Rings. Among fans, many of these languages have found a home on the web, where they continue to be developed and studied. At the same time, thousands of... read more

What a bumpy ride it has been for Connecticut new environment and energy commissioner Dan Esty. Esty blew into office looking like a natural fit with the administration of Jed Bartlett on West Wing. He was exactly the kind of quick-witted, telegenic, academically certified office-ho... read more

One of the many things I love about the Canadian novelist Robertson Davies is the way his otherwise orderly, scholarly, reasonable Canadian characters are forever bumping up against the realms of the obscure which include, to borrow a list from another Davies fan, alchemy, saints' legen... read more

I sometimes worry that  our show is too Hartford-centric, so I'm thrilled that everything we're talking about today happens south of Middletown. First we're talking to New Haven's police chief about a return to good old-fashioned foot and bike patrols, back almost literally by popul... read more

Contrary to what you've been told, the first flying machine may have flown in Bridgeport. Gustave Whitehead is a mostly unsung pioneer in American aviation, and there's some evidence supporting the claim that he flew before Wilbur and Orville did. Whitehead's story stayed buried... read more

Even though I deplore what he said about President Obama on Fox & Friends and even though he seems, in general, like kind of a deplorable person, I kinda wish everybody would reconsider the idea of dropping Hank Williams Jr. from Monday Night Football's opening. There's some ethos of ex... read more

There are lots of macro-theories about how elections work. For Republican Frank Luntz , it's all about language. Call it the death tax instead of the estate tax and you change how people feel about it. For liberal theorist George Lakoff, it's about "moral framing." He says conservatives... read more

The postal service has two levels of problems. The frist one is a short term problem that's probably solvable. They were placed, in 2006, behind an accounting 8-ball that required them to pre-fund their health care benefits in a manner not ordinarily contemplated in either the public or... read more

Every now and then you see a speaker's fee that stops you in your tracks. $100,000 for Sara Palin. $200,000 for Bill Clinton. DEP Commissioner Dan Esty is in the news (again) today for a $15,000 speaking fee he collected in Cleveland. Clinton is the Michael Jordan of this world. In... read more

The Cricket Hall of Fame inducted six new members last weekend. We talk with the center's director about the organization's mission, cricket in Connecticut and why they chose to set up their home base in Hartford. Come to think of it, does cricket even have a home base? Leave yo... read more

The English jurist William Blackstone said "Better that ten guilty men go free than that one innocent suffer." In recent years, I've seen Blackstone's ratio, when it's cited, shrink down to four to one, as if there's been some kind of deflation of the presumption of innocence. I als... read more

Today on the Nose we'll run through a grab-bag of topics, starting with the the search for meaning in Red Sox Nation following the collapse of the crimson hose. As we get ready to go on the air, the Twitterverse has already pronounced manager Terry Francona a goner, even though the... read more

Bill Clinton is a vegan. You'd think that would be a bigger story: one of humankind's most voracious carnivores swiching to the other extreme. For Clinton, it's probably all about heart health, although it may have helped that his daughter Chelsea was already a vegan. Veganism is increa... read more

Our in-house name for this show is "Entertainment Freeganism", but that's kind of a misnomer. On the one hand, it's true that you can entertain yourself with a lot of free television and movies on your computer, if you're willing to watch it all there - and the amount of free music avai... read more

Board game sales have steadily risen during the last decade, even in years when everything-else-sales were falling. That's probably caused by a combination of factors, starting with the relatively low cost of the games. You pay twenty or thirty bucks and you get a game you can play... read more

You're about to meet several people who are mildly unhinged on the subject of hotdogs. One of them is David Pudlin. He used to be the majority leader of the Connecticut House of Representatives. Now he spends a great deal of time thinking about chili dogs, which he knows way too much ab... read more

There isn't too much Colin McEnroe Show producer Patrick Skahill won't do for his job, and this month that includes giving up meat, dairy and all manner of animal products for an upcoming show on veganism. Follow along as Patrick heats the tofurky and goes through hard-core donut withdr... read more

We like symphony orchestras, but we know also that to survive, they have to rethink almost everything they've ever done. They know how to put on a concert, but do they know how to put on a show? Carolyn Kuan, the young new conductor of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra is taking this chal... read more

With a huge aircraft convention coming to Hartford, we decided to get outside our own comfort zone and bring our show staff up in the air in a small plane yesterday. You'll hear that later in the show. The convention is expected to bring 7,000 visitors and a whole bunch of planes and he... read more

WANTED: Point Guard. $70K/yr. Must work weekends. Student-athletes generate billions of revenue for universities and private companies while they earn nothing. Some who’ve been badly hurt don’t get the care and coverage they’d get with workers comp. Others see their scholarship canceled... read more

What are we watching when we watch (and cheer about) a college game? Historian Taylor Branch disputes the notion that we are watching a logical, natural outgrowth of the college's academic identity. If you're a student, are those your fellow students playing football? If you're an a... read more

By most measures the traffic stop of Denise Nappier on the night of Sept. 1 was not a big deal. We shouldn't still be talking about it on Sept 19. But we are, because the incident raised a whole series of questions, most of which are still sizzling in the air. Nappier was stopped in... read more

I guess I'm guilty of the vogue for authenticity, both the word and the quality. I started invoking it a few years ago when it became clear that a lot of young people were turning to the Daily Show for their news. There were all sorts of plausible reasons for that, but to me, the most p... read more

Note: A complete playlist from today's show is below. The cover version is an odd creature. Ideally, it pulls a new idea out of an old song and retains from the new artist, some of the old artist's sensibility. On the recent Buddy Holly tribute album, one of the successes, I... read more

The recent MetroHartford Alliance roll-out of new logos and ad campaigns irritated a lot of people, including me, because the whole thing seemed so disconnected from the Hartford I know. It was the work of a Canadian marketing company which seemed to know about as much about Hartfor... read more

In 2009 I moderated a Connecticut Forum panel of chefs made famous by television and radio. When word got out that I was doing this, I was approached by people who wanted -- really wanted -- to meet a particular chef. Sometimes it was Duff Goldman from the TV Show "Ace of Cakes." Someti... read more

It was a sunny morning in Connecticut with no hint of the terror to come. When the day turned dark, its shadows stretched across the state in uncountable ways. As the airplanes struck their targets, they started the clock on a new era. Political fortunes rose and fell. Commuters who cro... read more

I don't really know how anybody knows this, jut we're told that 19 million people play Fantasy Football and that businesses lose nine billion dollars in productivity to be obsessing about their teams and picks. We're told that the business end of Fantasy Football -- not the money t... read more

Cesar Millan is a professional dog trainer and will be at the Bushnell in Hartford on December 4th. We spoke with him to get a few insights before his trip. ... read more

Yesterday, I asked the outside world to submit questions for Governor Dannel P. Malloy on Facebook and via email. The response reminded me of why I wouldn't want his job. A lot of people are really mad at him for raising taxes. A lot of other people are really mad at him for cutting... read more

So. Bought your generator yet? During the long power outage, everybody, it seemed, became a preparedness expert, if not an out and out survivalist. But it's a mentality you might find hard to hold on to. You have to buy food you're NOT going to eat right away. You have to think abou... read more

One pitfall a leader must avoid involves becoming a Charlie Brown or David Copperfield character. A person to whom things happen as opposed to a person who makes things befall others.  President Obama has seemed, of late, a big Copperfieldian. Not sure whether he is the protagonist... read more

This (I)NTERVIEW is from August 16th, 2011 The Media Lab is conveniently situated between the 3rd floor elevator bank and the WNPR studios. While mixing audio or rummaging through drawers for USB cables, our interns would often cast a curious glance hallway-ward when the guests for... read more

There are two Connecticuts right now. One has power and one doesn't. Actually, there might be even more Connecticuts than that, because within the group that has no power there are factions believing that other people are more likely to get their power back first because of socioeconomi... read more

The obituaries in The New York Times are often the best things in the paper even if you had never heard of the deceased. I recently was transfixed by one about a table tennis player named Geroge Hendry who had two completely discrete playing careers -- he quit in 1952 and came back in 1... read more

Maybe you think of the banjo as primarily a bluegrass instrument, but try not to forget that prior to about 1830, it was played pretty much exclusively by African-Americans, and it seems to have as ancestors several African instruments. It's not hard to find people with a visceral... read more

In Petersberg KY, there's a Creation Museum where the exhibits at the museum teach that the Earth is 6,000 years old and was created in six 24-hour days. The founders say more than a million people have visited — 80 percent of which are from out of state. It's such a good economic devel... read more

Last night, I saw "Wicked" at the Bushnell and was reminded of all the little subversive political jabs in a musical that has otherwise succeeded in cornering the attention of 12 year old girls. There are barbs about regime change and a lyric about "great communicators" who have no... read more

If you lived on the Gulf, you'd probably be a little more relaxed about storms, like this guy here.  Make sure you read his last few paragraphs. On the other hand, if you wanted a really comprehensive "go-bag," one of our contributors did work one up for you.  But if you want to... read more

I think a lot about the difference between this show and the shows I did for 16 years in commercial drive time radio. Our shows at WNPR tend to be contained. We geek out on a subject for one episode and then let it go as we get ready for something else. Topics and storylines tend not to... read more

There is no more heart-stopping understudy story (that I'm aware of) than Elaine Stritch's much-told tale of understudying Ethel Merman in "Call Me Madam" while simultaneously being cast in the 1952 debut of "Pal Joey," with a first entrance in the second act. Stritch figured she co... read more

Ever since Neil Gabler's essay ran in the New York times two Sundays ago, I've been wondering whether he's right when he says: "If our ideas seem smaller nowadays, it’s not because we are dumber than our forebears but because we just don’t care as much about ideas as they did. In ef... read more

For The Nose, we try to round up a posse of ideas that reflect the serious and playful sides of the week in culture. And culture has been unbusually giving this week. We're just getting to know Rick Perry, a guy who has already (kind of) threatened the Fed Chief, said there are some gap... read more

If I told you last week that in response to political protest, a government shut down cell phone service, you would have thought I meant maybe Syria.  But by now you probably know it happened in downtown San Francisco where transit cops, worried about a protest that might disrupt ra... read more

In reading somebody else's pet peeves about the state of the English language, it is impossible not to think of one's own. But here I must pause and say that Roy Blount Jr.'s "Alphabetterjuice" seems to address every eventuality, including the question of pet peeves. Blount reports:... read more

In the Old West, chili was a sacrament and maybe still is. Pat Garrett said of  Billy the Kid: "Anybody that eats chili cant' be all bad." And the James Brothers repeatedly passed up chances to rob a bank in McKinney Texas, because the chili parlor there was so good they believed th... read more

I don't hate hipsters, but I will admit to watching them with amusement. Starting around 2008, my son and I picked up the practice of going to the Lower East Side, grabbing some seats facing out on the street at a place like Spitzer's and watching the hipster scene go by. Our favori... read more

**Hear the interview in its entirety by clicking on the player to the right. You can also stream individual songs by clicking on the track title** There was Gene Pitney in Rockville. There were the Five Satins in New Haven. There were The Wildweeds in Windsor.  There are a few other... read more

What do you miss most? Is it a person? Maybe your grandmother's cooking ... or an ex-lover who you never got over. Maybe you miss a place, an old torn down building or a resturant that served a dish you can't find anywhere else. Perhaps it's a moment in time that you miss, or the fr... read more

Alright, admit it - You didn't do the reading, did you? You were so busy baking the perfect apple crumble topped with burnt sugar and selecting the perfect Michael buble album for background music, that you prepared for everythning about the book club except actually finishing the book.... read more

What makes a summer song? Joan Holliday says two things: heat and joy. The Internet has sort of informally agreed Katy Perry's Last Friday Night is the 2011 song of the summer, but our panelists weren't so sure.  It's certianly true the song of the summer is NOT the best song re... read more

So where do you get your humor? The New Yorker Shouts and Murmurs column? (This morning I laughed at Tim Long's summer vacation riff in the current issue.) The Daily Show? (I just sat here for five minutes chuckling at an Aasif Mandvi piece about ducks and wind turbines in Florida.) McS... read more

No matter what you think of trucks and truckers, trying going a day without anything that made at least part of its way to you on a truck. It would be a quiet day, I think.  Truckers are out there trying to share the road with us, and today, we want you to hear their voices.   ... read more

Ah, the supermarket! The temple of abundance! Listen to  Don Delillo's characters describe it in the novel "White Noise": "Everything seemed to be in season, sprayed, burnished, bright. The place was awash in noise. The toneless systems, the jangle and skid of carts, the loudspeak... read more

While I was working on the first "Connecticut Curiosities" book, a project I handed off eventually to Bill Heald and Susan Campbell, I found myself, one warm afternoon, deep in the woods of East Haddam looking for a giant stone clown head I had been assured, more than once, was lying ou... read more

Today on the Nose, we talked about the controversial $200,000 marketing report released earlier this week. We heard a lot of your snarky (and genuine) suggestions via Twitter for how to rebrand Connecticut's capitol city.    @ReubenClamzo: "Hartford: Two Hours From Everythin... read more

Herman Melville knew he had written a difficult book to love. After Hawthorne praised it, Melville wrote back saying: "You did not care a penny for the book. But, now and then as you read, you understood the pervading thought that impelled the book—and that you praised. Was it not... read more

All of us know migraine sufferers. Three important women in my life get migraine attacks. You'd think, given that, I'd know a lot about migraine, but it turns out I don't.  I would have said that migraine is a kind of headache, but it now seems to me that that's not precisely true. ... read more

Yesterday, The Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection announced its preliminary findings on the origin of the now-famous Mountain Lion that was struck and killed by a Hyundai SUV in Milford last month.  We spoke with Deputy Commissioner Susan Frechette today to... read more

How influential is Shakespeare? Bernard Levin writes: If you cannot understand my argument, and declare "It’s Greek to me," you are quoting Shakespeare; if you recall your salad days, you are quoting Shakespeare; if you act more in sorrow than in anger, if your lost property ha... read more

Why do we get so freaked about outsourcing? Some of the reasons are obvious. It's part of an actual exodus of jobs from the United States to places where wages are a lot lower.   But some of our discomfiture is more primal. We're bothered by the idea that the person on the o... read more

The winds of life can change abruptly. Go back about six weeks, and Rupert Murdoch's media empire looks indomitable. Now it's slowly rolling in the water like a half-dead sea mammal.   The inimitable Christopher Hitchens wrote:   "There was something almost bizarrely... read more

Before we get started on ferries, let me make a few things clear. First, the process by which the ferries might be eliminated remains kind of a moving target. If nothing changes, ferry personnel will be laid off Aug. 25. But the unions are still fiddling around with new rules and co... read more

"Lay down some cover fire for me," I told Commander Troi, Buffy and Bill Curry. "I have to get back to Earth and do a show about fan fiction." The vampire slayer and the busty Betazoid Starfleet counselor crouched behind the body of the slain Chewbacca while Curry scrambled to fetch... read more

I wasn't sure I understood the main idea of today's show... Until I talk to Bill Curry. That doesn't happen very often. I mean, I talk to Curry pretty much every day, but I usually don't end up feeling less confused. But here's what he helped me see: The United States of Americ... read more

Here are links to a few of the topics discussed on today's episode of The Nose: Irene Papoulis says the press uses a lot of loaded language right now to juice up the notion that President Obama is about to blow his stack. Obama kept his cool through Friday's press conference, but th... read more

I'm not opposed to air conditioning. I'm opposed to its ubiquity and misuse. The AC here in the Dankosky Building is, frankly, way too high, at least in the area where we all work.   We've learned to wear shoes and socks, not sandals and to bring sweaters and sports jackets... read more

There is, of course, nothing to do in Connecticut in the summer, except that tonight, for example, I face a hard choice between one of today's guests, Meklit Hadero, at Real Art Ways or the soulful and talented singer Liam O Maonlai of the Hothouse flowers at 41 Bridge Street in Collins... read more

What's the hardest and scariest sports event in the world? I have to believe it's the Tour de France. The race has 2,200 miles of curves and mountains. The course is undeniably grueling and, as we have been reminded this week, very dangerous.   The injuries you get when cycl... read more

New York magazine's often caustic Will Leitch thinks we should feel sorry for "umpires — lonely, underpaid men who spend their whole adult lives on the road, being called horrible names by strangers — are our sacrifice, roasted on a spit as we pray to the instant-replay gods. We underst... read more

Wolfie's Songs! - 07/08/2011
Welcome to Chion Wolf's song page! (You'll also find essays and other goodies here.) Thanks for listening back or catching up with Wolfie's tunes from The Colin McEnroe Show! Feel free to share with your friends in hopes that one of them will be SO PLEASED with what they hear that t... read more

Bill Curry says there should be a National "Bring Your Whole Self to Politics" day in which political people reveal all the complicated sides they have that don't fit into the stark equations that make one a liberal or a conservative, a Republican or a Democrat. Over the years I've... read more

Everybody knows who Paul Marcarelli is. They just don't know they know. Marcarelli was the Verizon guy. The "can you hear me now" guy with the Buddy Holly frames. During the heyday of those commercials, he wasn't comfortable letting the world know his sexual orientation. When homoph... read more

When I was 12, my peers in the neighborhood formed an elite and highly secretive organization called the Dog Do Club. I was invited to join, but one of the prerequisites was that I shoplift something.  I just couldn't do it. Even though I was eager to join the Dog Do Club and enjoy... read more

A couple of weeks ago, I got a press release from a Connecticut theater company touting the merits of a play they had up and running. "Standing ovations every night," was one of the claims made on behalf of the show. I thought, "Fine, but what doesn't get a standing ovation these da... read more

Back in the days of three, maybe four, networks, summer television was an odd wasteland, mostly re-runs with occasionally odd oases. Ray Stevens hosted a summer replacement series which offered the first full exposure to the dadaist comedy of a young unknown named Steve Martin.  Sum... read more

There's something funny about some infomercials. We wasted a certain amount of office time today studying a kind of curved stick that one attaches toilet paper to so that one can extend one's reach.  And there's something vaguely pornographic about other infomercials, like the Tiddy... read more

OK, I know this might not be as easy and fun as yesterday's show on comic books, but if the current state budget were a comic book, it would be about a dystopian future. (And present for that matter ...) The state constitution requires that the budget be balanced by Friday. It isn't... read more

So much has changed.  In the 1960s, you bought your comic books at a drug store. The guy at the counter had a sharp eye for the kids who were just there to speed read a few comics and the actual buyer.    I was the actual buyer at the Rexall drug store. I think it's hard for... read more

Today, the Supreme Court struck down an Arizona public financing law similar to the one in Connecticut. But campaign finance reform can be a little dry and hard to follow, so first, a little colorful history: Former governor John G. Rowland in his ultimate guilty plea, stipulated to... read more

"But, Charlotte," said Wilbur, "I'm not terrific."  That doesn't make a particle of difference," replied Charlotte. "Not a particle. People believe almost anything they see in print."    Those sentences sum up one virtue of E.B. White's Charlotte's Web. A different sort of b... read more

Most people want to believe there's a breeding population of mountain lions spreading through parts of Connecticut and into New York's Hudson Valley. People root for this to be the case. We want to believe that where we live is not completely tame - that there's a whiff of wildness... read more

Sports and superheroes have certain elements in common. Maybe I just want to think that because today we're going to talk about superhero movies like the Green Lantern and the Spider-Man Broadway musical.  In fact, could I pause for just a second and say that, in my comic book years... read more

Early in the career of Cassius Clay, a boxing writer saw him fight a lesser opponent and said it looked like a man trying to kill hornets with a shovel. That's not a bad description of the efforts to combat electronic spam.  Using ingenious and low cost methods, spam replicates by t... read more

Last year, Patrick Skahill and I arrived on one of the first days of the International Festival of Arts and Ideas and attended, if that's the right word, "Susurrus," a play that unfolded in our heads as we walked though New Haven's Edgerton Park listening to the drama unfold on headphon... read more

It starts with two raccoons "sprawled still as stones in the road."  "I carry them to the side and lay them in sun-shot, windblown grass in the barrow ditch." Then it's jackrabbits and a "crumpled adolescent porcupine" who "leers up almost maniacally over its blood-flecked teeth."  ... read more

  Honore: We met at nine Mamita: We met at eight Honore: I was on time Mamita: No, you were late Honore: Ah, yes, I remember it well ...   So begins the famous duet between Maurice Chevalier and Hermione Gingold in "Gigi."    Their implication -- that... read more

  Maybe we should accept, at this point, that it does matter much how politicians conduct themselves in their private lives. If we don't accept that, we are going to be disappointed again and again by the politicians we like and, of course, repeatedly thrilled when somebody from the... read more

If you're tired of hearing about how far our public schools lag behind other nations in math and science, get ready for something completely different. Today we'll meet a couple of high school students who will probably have to dumb down their ideas a lot just for me to understand t... read more

What does it mean when we say we hate a song? There are nice songs that just need a rest. Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" is a good song, but nobody should play it for five years. Same goes for "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." These songs are like proud horses that have been ridden into t... read more

For me, the champion of the nom de plume game will forever be Brian O'Nolan who wrote great modernist novels under the name Flann O'Brien and an important newspaper column in the Irish times under the pen name Miles nagCopaleen. (Miles of the Little Ponies.) Still not content, he se... read more

Last year, I was here in Connecticut for most of the summer, and there was more to do than I could possibly cram in. From New Haven's Festival of Arts and Ideas to a splendid season of Monday night jazz to the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival to the usual round of Real Art Ways eve... read more

Each year here at the Berkshire Film Festival, there are films that everybody knows are going to make a big splash.   A couple of years ago, "Man on Wire" opened the festival and there was also "Frozen River," which earned Melissa Leo a Best Actress Oscar nomination.   T... read more

The story is familiar from the work of Charles Dickens. A young person with little means is placed under the care of a family member who in turns sells or trades the young person to a man who is up to no good. But the story of Connecticut's human sex trafficking ring is not as dista... read more

Thirty-four states use the death penalty. Sixteen do not. Connecticut does, but most of its neighboring states -- New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Maine and Vermont -- do not. New Hampshire does, but the state has had no executions since 1939 and currently possesses no... read more

This week a feud erupted between Hartford courant columnist and blogger Rick Green and Frank Harris, a Courant columnist and chairman of the journalism department at Southern Connecticut State University.  Harris revealed that he had just begun re-subscribing to the Courant after a... read more

We got interested in whistling after the Library of Congress launched its National Jukebox, an amazing online compilation of playable, often scratchy music from the library's collection. There's a lot of music there, including a whole section devoted to whistling. (Also yodeling, but th... read more

Today's show is intended mainly to answer questions about ways you can adapt your own living space to use alternative energy sources. But let's take few moments to whine about the collapse of Connecticut's once-upon-a-time incentive program that was a model for the rest of the natio... read more

***Gwendolyn Quezaire-Presutti will perform as Harriet Tubman Monday, July 11, from 1 to 2 p.m. at John J. Sullivan's in Ansonia.*** Today we're doing an all-Harriet show, featuring Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harriet Tubman and Harriet the Spy. We love the idea, and we plan to have... read more

One of our cops and robbers traditions -- as static as Kabuki -- is the perp walk. The idea of marching an arrested suspect across a line of flashing cameras is probably about 100 years old. One theory says it may have started when there was a camera with a fast enough shutter. By t... read more

In Paris, along the Rue Mouffetard is the Place de la Contrescarpe. Before the time of artificial lighting, this was a dangerous place. The civil authorities commonly found dead bodies on the ground when day broke. You could pay somebody with a candle on a pole to walk you through t... read more

President Obama is in New London today, and in Hartford, legislators and state employees are still chewing over the agreement crafted by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's team and the unions. Today on our show, we'll look at two chief executives facing very different kinds of crossroads.... read more

No religion that I can think of transformed its reputation as rapidly as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. To their fellow Americans of the mid-19th century, the the implications and baggage of the term "Mormon" were pretty close to what sticks to the term "Islamic fu... read more

In 1979, Margot Adler's book "Drawing Down the Moon" drew back the curtain on a highly developed and surprisingly well-populated world of of wiccans, covens, neopagans, goddess-worshipers, druids and even a group of people calling themselves "Radical faeries." Adler brought with her... read more

This week the New York Times got interested in political marriages. First came a page one profile of Newt Gingrich and his third wife Callista, with whom he conducted a six-year afffair that overlapped with his efforts to impeach Bill Clinton for lying under oath about his own infid... read more

Psychogeography was defined by Guy Debord as "the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals." Psychogeography looms large in the work of writers. Try to imagine Baudelaire... read more

I don't usually recommend that you touch your radio tuner, but, after today's show, flip over to a station playing what used to be called Top 40 radio and notice how many songs use the effect known as auto-tune.  If you don't know what that is, you will by the time we're done with y... read more

It seems you can't win with fish. There are health benefits to eating it, but overfishing is destroying the ocean stocks of wild fish.   We're catching more fish than the ecosystem can produce naturally. One anti-overfishing group says the oceans in 1900 contained at least s... read more

Watching the new CPTV documentary "The '60s in Connecticut," I reminded again of the way collective memory shapes and archives traumatic events. Most of us remember the protest of the Black Panther trial in New Haven, but many of us have sloppily conflated -- at the level of detail... read more

More than I've said out loud, the Osama bin Laden sideshow that began last Sunday night has made me uncomfortable. I'm kind of a freak for due process, even though I freely concede that a proper trial would have been a near-impossibility. On the other hand, there was Nuremberg, righ... read more

Because we're live from Billings Forge in the Frog Hollow section of Hartford today, let's take the opportunity to talk about cities and why some of us love them. Small towns are great, and suburbs have their purpose. But one of the ideas of a city is the notion that intelligence an... read more

I've been plowing through two biographies of Connecticut political titans -- Morgan Bulkeley who was Hartford mayor, Connecticut governor and a US Senator during the Gilded Age -- and Tom Dodd, Nuremberg prosecutor, Congressman, and a US Senator. Both men stand accused of chicanery.... read more

One of our subjects today is a web TV drama about cops and gangs in Hartford. "Second District" is very much in the mode of "The Wire."   Unfortunately, Hartford is the kind of place that would make a great setting for a crime drama. "The Wire" depicted Baltimore as a city unable to... read more

Writer, critic and artist Jonathon Keats explains how he uses quantum entanglement - an intimate trans-universal relationship between particles - to strengthen the bonds of marriage between couples. He also explains his latest exhibit in California, a gormet resturant ... for plants... read more

I confess I was surprised last night when crowds surged to the White House and to the former site of the World Trade Center to cheer the death of Osama bin Laden. It seems to me like an anticlimax. The world has changed a lot in ten years, and the argument that change in Middle East... read more

Today's show is about storytelling. Even though we didn't plan it that way, it turns out to be weirdly appropriate because our station has been having storm-related transmitter problems that probably forced a few of our listeners to entertain and enlighten one another the old way.... read more

When was the last time you danced? Not in the kitchen while preparing dinner, but publically on a dance floor with loud music, maybe even a partner ... If you're life is anything like mine, your only dancing these days takes place at weddings, where people gather and dance ironicall... read more

Just a few days ago, the First Two Ladies on the United States, Michelle Obama and Jill Biden announced a national initiative called Joining Forces. The idea is to combine as many elements of society as possible -- communities, individuals, nonprofits and businesses -- to make life a li... read more

From Colin McEnroe: Let me be clear: I believe 9/11 was the work of al-Qaeda. I believe they hijacked planes and flew them into buildings. Let me also be clear: I believe there was a concentrated, organized effort at the highest levels of American power to mislead the American p... read more

You look around. You see the strides. We have a gay mayor in Hartford. He had some problems last week explaining the financial arrangements of his spouse. He didn't have any problems explaining that his spouse is a man. Our state comptroller is a man married to another man. They have a... read more

We're talking today about independent record stores. At first I thought the show would be mostly about the romance of vinyl, but I see now that that's not the point. (Or at least that the emphasis should be on romance and not on vinyl. The point of those stores -- as illustrated in... read more

Heartbreak is embedded in baseball at a granular level. Football, basketball, boxing, hockey ... these sports can knock the spiritual wind out of you, but not the way baseball can. There's something about the slow unfolding of the game that mirrors Shakespeare's history plays and th... read more

On Sunday, the New York Times business section introduced me to a new term: FOMO, "Fear of Missing Out." It's a fever fed by social media sites like Facebook, on which we are more or less constantly aware of other people's happiness. They're watching a sunset over a bay in Ireland.... read more

Today's show is in two segments. One is about the "bully pulpit," that notion that the presidency provides a natural soap box that enables the president to alter the national mood and frame the way we think. The other part of the show is a conversation with a poet and former head of the... read more

Here is what we propose to talk about on The Nose today - Bewlidering office jargon. The semiotics of button-down collars. Why anyone should care about the upcoming royal wedding. The possibly overstated report of a gay caveman ... Is there a thread? I think it's the way we ext... read more

Luanne Rice has written 28 novels, many of them bestsellers, with translations into 24 languages and five TV adaptations. She's a bi-coastal literary force, welcome in and familiar with the power corridors of New York publishing and the L.A. entertainment industry. She's also, a... read more

*This episode originally aired April 6, 2011* We all know what it's like to slip into the gravitational pull of a musical artist. You might have a few weeks where you just can't stand to listen to to anything else. In fact, the musical universe seems divided up exactly that way -... read more

There's something Shakesperean about Jim Calhoun. I'm just never sure which play he's in. Henry V? Lear? Richard III? On Monday night, he was Henry V, leading his troops into battle. "We few, we happy few, we band of brothers," indeed. But since 2008, he has auditioned for other rol... read more

Lately, there's been a lot of debate over whether or not Connecticut should have hookahs. There's been back and forth between public officials in Milford and the owner of a restuarant trying to open a hookah lounge there. The debate ended with the introduction of a bill to the Conne... read more

Think of a story from your neighborhood over the past weekend. Anything happen? Not much, maybe. Somebody's dog got loose. You walked a couple of blocks over and watched the first half of the UConn game with some friends. In the warmth of Sunday, you watched your neighbors sweeping... read more

Today on The Nose, we'll be talking about the rise of master conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and about the Kennedy mini-series that was driven off the History Channel -- where, interestingly, Alex Jones has appeared. We've been having some interesting discussions around here about o... read more

**Today we get music advice from Colin McEnroe, Joan Holliday, Eric Danton and Wally Lamb. Check out their playlists below.** We need a better name for these music shows we do with Wally Lamb, Eric Danton and Joan Holiday. At the moment, we call them Peekaboo Radio, and the deal is... read more

Before we begin, Clarence, the WNPR puppet, would like to address the New Britain puppet thieves. You probably think an International Puppetry Conference at Uconn -- there is one this weekend -- would be full of cute stuff, right? Let me share some of the presentation topics:... read more

Quick. In what leafy, wooded Connecticut municipality can you find a Japanese Threadleaf Maple, an Ohio Buckeye, a PawPaw, a Weeping Birch, a Cedar of Lebanon, a Golden Hinoki False-Cypress, a Winterberry Euonymus, a Kentucky Coffeetree, a Fruitless White Mulberry, and a Tanyosho Pine.... read more

Speaking of Elizabeth Taylor and modern perceptions of American womanhood, Camille Paglia said this week "we're in a period now where everything has to be taut in mind and body." Paglia's point was that Taylor, relaxed, raunchy and overflowing her slip, doesn't seem to exist in the... read more

Here, to me, are the killer statistics: People spend 35 percent of their media time on the internet, but only 14 percent of the advertising dollars has moved over there. People also spend 35 percent of their media time watching TV, which commands 40 percent of the money spent on adv... read more

Elizabeth Taylor has died. But the moviegoing experience she embodied died long before her.  If you grew up with multiplexes it may be almost impossible for you to imagine the way a trip to the movie was once an American brush with affordable glamour.    It started with thei... read more

On today's show we''re going to look at the elaborate networks -- pipeline is too straight and straightforward a word -- that exist in Connecticut to nurture new businesses -- which came to be called, in the last two decades -- "start ups." The term became fashionable during the dot... read more

The idea that music can be medicine may strike some of you as woo-woo new age piffle. To a degree I had not understood until now, serious researchers all over the world as studying these connections and making astonishing breakthroughs. One of the leaders is the Music and Neuroimagi... read more

Garrison Keillor has announced that he'll retire in 2013. You know, I'm on public radio. I write humor. I sing. I dress funny. I've had a complicated personal life. Really, they wouldn't miss a beat. I am totally going to audition. The way things are going these days, I'll audition,... read more

**NOTE: Today's Playlist Is Posted Below** For many years of my adult life, I rejected Irish-American culture. I don't particularly like the way St. Patrick's Day is celebrated in this country with green beer and bad music. Growing up in the 1960s, I had few exposures to anything de... read more

Let me just throw it down right here. Bisons over Huskies. Not that I believe the UConn men will lose to Bucknell in the first round, but I will be rooting for that to happen. I've really had it with the UConn men's program. I'll happily root for the women. But this years' UConn men... read more

Today's show was occasioned by a controversial New York Times page one article about Dr. Donald Levin. It said: "Like many of the nation’s 48,000 psychiatrists, Dr. Levin, in large part because of changes in how much insurance will pay, no longer provides talk therapy, the form of p... read more

It's Pi Day, and we have to ask, can numbers be sexy? Tom Stoppard's play Arcadia is being revived on Broadway right now. I saw it Friday night. Much of the play is about a young math genius, a girl living 200 years ago, who writes in her notebook:   "I, Thomasina Coverly, h... read more

So you think you had a bad week? National Public Radio can top you.  This may seem like an ungallant time to point this out, but WNPR and NPR are not the same thing. We're not owned by NPR, and I think it's fair to say that, if NPR ceased to exist, WNPR could continue to function.... read more

In Liz Canner's documentary "Orgasm, Inc.," officials from one drug company admit that they were drawn heavily into the hunt for a female orgasm pill because of an incorrect press report that suggested they already had one. Their stock price, on the strength of one small false rumor... read more

I'm not even sure the comedy sub-species "impressionist" really exists any more. For decades, performers like David Frye, Rich Little, Frank Gorshin and John Byner made careers out of the gift for impersonation. Frye had an astonishingly rubbery face that could shape itself into the... read more

Remember Ted Williams, the man with the golden voice? Come on, it was only a couple of months ago that a video camera caught a disheveled homeless man greeting motorists with the startlingly honeyed tones of a radio announcer. That YouTube video has over 11 million views. Williams w... read more

We can put a man on the moon. Why can't we make our roads look less like the moon? And if we can't do that, why can't we design a car that's more like a lunar rover?   If you know the name Amar Bose, you probably associate it it with beautiful sounds pouring out of speakers,... read more

Should we even talk about Charlie Sheen on public radio? As an essayist in Slate pointed out this week, public radio listeners tend to write letters of complaint when NPR covers Justin Bieber, Ken and Barbie, Tiger Woods, Michael Jackson, rappers, Levi Johnston, Mel Gibson, heavy metal... read more

Twenty years ago, Connecticut was held in thrall by the murder conspiracy trial of Karin Aparo in connection with the murder of Karin's mother Joyce.  Working at the Hartford Courant then, I fielded a lot phone calls and letters about the case. People didn't have the Internet on whi... read more

Connecticut, unique among all states, has both a state poet laureate and a state troubadour. The first state poet laureate was James Merrill, appointed in the mid-1980s. Merrill graciously accepted the honor but said it was unlikely he would be writing poems for state occasions like, he... read more

As much as we romanticize the Leatherman, Connecticut's most famous vagabond, we should remember too that the post Civil War era -- his era -- was a time of tramp laws, meant to discourage exactly the sort of person he was. A New York Times editorial from 1879 complains of "ragged,... read more

A recent round of questions about conflicts of interest in the U.S. Supreme Court may place all three branches of government on a collision course. Congressmen Chris Murphy is drafting a bill that would extend the ethics standards for lower court federal judges to the currently stan... read more

The movie that had the biggest impact on the Academy Awards over the last ten years is one that did not win best picture ... or even get nominated - it was  "The Dark Knight," Christopher Nolan's 2008 Batman movie that was shunned in 2009. It was smart. It was critically acclaimed.... read more

Michael Kramer was an award-winning political columnist for Time and New York magazine. Now he’s the playwright behind “Divine Rivalry,” a show about da Vinci and Michaelangelo, making its world premier in Hartford. We’ll talk politics and art. Chion Wolf and Colin will also read yo... read more

Radio wears a lot of different outfits. On one end of the spectrum there's Clear Channel Communications, which owns 900 stations. On the other, there's a guy who broadcasts from the back of a truck in the Collinsville section of Canton on Saturdays.   We never did find that guy, but... read more

Until recently, I didn't understand the degree to which Connecticut jury selection process -- called the voir dire -- differs from those of other states. Connecticut grants -- as a standard practice -- the right of each side to question each prospective juror while the others are se... read more

Earlier this week, Bernie Madoff gave an interview to a reporter working on a book called "Wizard of Lies, Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust." Wow. Prison must be really boring if he's willing to give that writer his time. Or maybe he's still hoping to be liked or loved. One of t... read more

I got my first glimpse at backstage Broadway when I was in the first grade. My playwright father's first and only musical, "Donnybrook," opened on Broadway. He didn't make it through opening night. He got up and left the theater and walked around the block for most of the show. The... read more

I started writing humor -- or trying, anyway, -- when my column launched in the Hartford Courant in 1982.  Right around that time, Roy Blount Jr. published his third book, his first pure humor collection, "One Fell Soup (or I'm Just a Bug on the Windshield of Life.") I read it. And... read more

Last winter, West Hartford residents David Foster and Denis Horgan began collecting used baseball equipment to be sent to kids across Cuba. Three shipments later, about 1,600 pounds of donated gear have been distributed in Cuba, and Foster and Horgan have just returned from a visit... read more

You are surrounded by Artificial Intelligence. It's in your smartphone, in your DVR, probably even in your refrigerator.   There's something called the AI Effect, which refers to to the way we quickly incorporate the latest advance into our understanding of what the world is. A talk... read more

In the matter of kisses, I yield the floor to the Roman poet Catullus: You ask how many of your kisses do I need, Lesbia, how many kisses will suffice. As many as the grains of Libyans sands That lie upon the perfumed Cyrenian plain Between the sweltering shrine of fiery Jo... read more

As a former religion writer, I struggle with the whole idea of branding any particular religion as a "Cult." You know the old saying comedy equals tragedy plus time? Often religion equals cult plus time. Late 19th century America was a breeding ground for religious movements, many o... read more

The 2000 election illustrated the weirdness of our presidential voting system in several different dimensions.  Yes, as we all remember, George W. Bush won by five electoral  votes while losing the popular vote.  But imagine that Gore had won Florida and had lost Delaware, Conne... read more

It could be all the coffee I drank this morning, but I think I have an observation that combines the concept of singularity -- the moment at which artificial intelligence or scientifically modified human intelligence becomes smarter than anything that has ever lived on earth -- with the... read more

Today we'll be analyzing the commercials from last night's Super Bowl. Why? Because, as one writer for Salon.com put it, "We all accept the Super Bowl as less of a game than a pop culture nexus point -- a place where the American self-image asserts itself with familiar rituals ... while... read more

Movies are usually beautiful lies. If you want to learn about history, read a history book. The most a movie can do is kind of light you up, in a vague way, about its historical subject. You watch "Gandhi," maybe you get why Gandhi was such a big deal. So it doesn't make much sense... read more

There's a kind of madness overtaking us. When there's this much snow and ice, people get a little crazy.  It's not cabin fever. In fact, the problem is that you have to leave the cabin now and again and what's waiting for you out there isn't nice.   Today we asked people to... read more

I've been a Packer's fan since I was about 14 years old. People ask me why.  Am I from Wisconsin? No. Did I get hooked during the glory years of Lombardi and Bart Starr? Nope. When I started liking them, they had recently become awful and they stayed pretty awful for a long time. I... read more

Until theatrical autobiographical monologue develops a large roster of superstars, everybody will be compared to Spalding Gray, whether or not that makes sense on a case-by-case basis. The monologue is, I suppose, as old as human speech, but Gray refined it and married it to perform... read more

"Well, my book is written--let it go. But if it were only to write over again there wouldn't be so many things left out. They burn in me; and they keep multiplying; but now they can't ever be said. And besides, they would require a library--and a pen warmed up in hell." So wrote Mark Tw... read more

Twenty or 30 years ago there was a Doonesbury strip featuring the president of Walden College and a rich uncle pennybags donor who wanted to give the college a new gym or fieldhouse. And the president tried, gently and awkwardly, to nudge the rich man toward the idea of a new African Am... read more

You could argue that one of the big breaks in the history of knowledge is happening right now, as we move from being storers of knowledge to being adept searchers for what is stored. There's a basic shift in the notion of what education is. Most of us moved through an education pipe... read more

Steve Rushin is fearful of robots. First they replaced his father's pin-setting job. Now they're coming for him. Rushin is the author of The Pint Man and a long time columnist and contributor to Sports Illustrated. He recently wrote about the rise of sportswriting software and the i... read more

I heard two New York congressmen on NPR this morning talking about last night's co-called Date Night in which Republicans and Democrats had to find people from the opposite party to sit with. This morning's consensus, from them? It was a nice thing to do, but we probably won't do it... read more

The Hartford Symphony Orchestra has named Carolyn Kuan its new music director. Kuan visited our studios last year when she was touring Hartford as a candidate. She's the 10th music director for the HSO and the first woman to hold the position. She sat down with us again to talk... read more

Finally, Colin and David Edelstein agree on something - Winter's Bone for Best Picture! America's Greatest Living Film Critic knows his movies. We talked with him about the surprises in the 2010 Oscar nominations and which awards he thinks are a lock.  Edelstein also dropped som... read more

I grew up in an environment where it was difficult for me to be a snob even if I wanted to. I was a scholarship student at a private boys' school and then at Yale. I suppose this gave me the opportunity to have snobbish feelings toward people who didn't get to breathe the air of suc... read more

We planning our shows and then having to adjust them based on sudden political developments. Today, however, our planned show is about narcissism, and it's pretty easy to incorporate politics into that. While he was working on a book called "The Narcisism Epidemic," researcher... read more

The Town of Enfield seems intent on teaching a living class in First Amendment issues. Last spring the town wound up in federal court over its plan to hold graduation exercises in a mega-church. Now Enfield is back in the headlines after the town council majority threatened the... read more

Two topics today. Waiting in lines and Joe Lieberman.  I'm not sure whether there's a connection. When we first launched this program back in 2009, I approached the state Department of Motor Vehicles about the idea of doing a Salute to the DMV show, because actually think the DMV runs p... read more

Frank Tavares' voice enters the ears of public radio listeners everday. Perhaps more than Robert Siegel, Terri Gross and Renee Montagne and certainly more than Colin McEnroe. If WNPR is the only public radio station you listen to, you might think Frank Tavares works in this building... read more

The idea for today's show started with a story in the New Haven Independent about 7,000 square feet of maple flooring in the gym of a school slated for demolition. Joe DeRisi, one of our guests today, realized that the floor had fallen through the cracks, which -- when you think abo... read more

Our show today is about the rewards and disappointments of visiting the houses of writers we love. Or visiting the houses of a writer who happened to live in a city we happen to be visiting anyway. Or visiting the houses of writers who lived where we live. Here in Hartford, even if... read more

Oscar Wilde said memory is the diary we all carry around with us, but really memory is more than that.  Memory is the traction that allows our minds to hold the road. What would it be like to have no memory? What would you base the rest of your day on? The rest of your life? We... read more

***See a listing of today's music below*** Here is a story about Facebook being really good for something. We do these shows, from time to time, in which Eric Danton, Joan Holliday and Wally Lamb -- all of who really keep up with indie music -- visit the studio and recommend thin... read more

It isn't hard to see the thread running between two big stories this week. A publisher and a Twain scholar -- struggling with language that makes Huck Finn difficult to teach in certain parts of the country -- are collaborating on an edition of the work that will eliminate the offensive... read more

Queen Elizabeth II looked back up on one especially unpleasant  year of scandals and publicized discord in the royal family, punctuated by a serious fire at Windsor Castle. She said in a speech: "1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure. In the words of... read more

It's an oddity of recent Connecticut political history that, in a state where registered Democrats far outnumber registered Republicans, the voters have gone a long, long time without electing a Democratic governor. Bill O'Neill was the last. He won a second election 24 years ago an... read more

Not long ago, we did a show about spelling, and a lot of the emails we got were about dyslexia. Some of the listeners went as far as to suggest that it was almost unfair to do a show about spelling without taking into account the percentage of the population -- I've seen estimates r... read more

We love our show, but one complaint we get is that our 1 p.m. time slot is not convenient. So we began asking Mr. Dankosky, our fearless leader, if we could add a rebroadcast in the evening hours. He demanded to know why he would do something that would get even more -- possibly eve... read more

Twice in one week, professional football crossed over from the sports pages and became part of the greater national dialogue. And both instances involved the Philadelphia Eagles in completely unrelated ways. The first instance happened with President Obama applauded the Eagles for g... read more

I get why conservative people would think children's culture is, in general, too liberal. I would assume, without knowing, that many of my childhood influences -- Maurice Sendak and Shel Siverstein come to mind --  voted Democrat. Sesame Street started out with kind of a hippie work... read more

Last night I saw "True Grit." I believed it was appropriate to see "True Grit" on a night that required "true grit"  to get to the movies. I had complicated feelings about it. It was, for long stretches, vastly entertaining. And Jeff Bridges is worth the price of admission and a tre... read more

"Connecticut is a terrible place to be single." I hear this so much, so fervently, that it must be at least somewhat true. I hear it mainly from people in their 20s and 30s, mainly in the Hartford area. There is no one. They can never meet anyone. Most startlingly, they say they hav... read more

Here is Charles Dickens describing Scrooge: "Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grind- stone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self... read more

In the press, we like public figures who make life interesting. And Martha Dean is never boring. She and I have not always been each other's cup of tea -- even before there was a Tea Party movement to back her. She first ran for Atttorney General in 2002, and we had some kind of... read more

OK, let's get this out of the way. I am a manly man. I am, in fact, a mighty oak. But I cry. Occasionally in public. In fact, I'm pretty sure I have cried on the air twice on the Faith Middleton Show, in the years before I am came to work at this radio station. Faith's technique was... read more

I used to be pretty good at spitting out lists of the best things in culture for any given year, but something about the frantic effort of getting ready for this daily radio show is antithetical to the kind of relaxed rate of absorption you need for that.  Patrick and I crunched up... read more

We could do ten shows in libraries in a row and not bore you. For instance consider the brand new report by the American Library Association, "Privacy and Freedom in the 21st Century Library." As the introduction states: "As libraries increasingly move beyond provision of print material... read more

McEnroe's Number one Law of Culture says that we celebrate things when they're in decline. That may explain why there have been several recent movies about spelling bees and a hit musical. And then there's the Scripps Howard Spelling Bee itself which is now televised as if it were a... read more

In New Haven, some preservationists are mourning the loss of an old fashioned railroad station schedule board, the kind that goes clickety-clickety-clack every time the arrivals and departures turn over. In Bridgeport, there is still quite a bit of angst over the hand-counting of ba... read more

There are some holiday songs that should banned. I'm sorry Burl Ives, but there's really no reason for anybody to have to hear "Holly Jolly Christmas" ever again. And Little Drummer Boy? There's almost no way to describe the sinking feeling that tune gives me. Except, well, to... read more

I'm never entirely satisfied with the way we in the press cover movies or any of the performing and broadcast arts. We review things. We interview the people who create and act in things. Much less often do we talk about the most important people. The audience. The way we use art is... read more

If you have not, so far, followed the story of the removal of "A Fire In My Belly" by David Wojnarowicz from the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian, this piece from WNYC will bring you mostly up to speed.  In Hartford, Real Art Ways is now exhibiting the work as part of a... read more

Our friend Mike Pesca opines: "The dickey, given its inherent utility would surely be more popular if not for its name. I'd rebrand it the 'Neck Bro' - your suggestion?" I agree that dickey was a poor name choice in days now bygone. but I think Pesca might be (and this is rare) wron... read more

Harry Potter's little secret is that deep in his heart he's a nice Episcopalian boy. A closet acolyte. I know there's a whole tripwire about wizards and warlocks, but if you can get past that, it's hard to see what kind of problems conventional family values Christians could possibl... read more

We live in the age of the slick, the packaged, the downloadable. When my son was younger, I insisted that he go with me, whenever possible, to see examples of the burgeoning counter-movement loosely grouped together as neo-vaudeville. A good place to see a lot of that stuff is New Y... read more

I can't make up my mind about Julian Assange, the mastermind -- founder seems too tame a word -- behind Wikileaks, but I get the feeling I'm not meant to have a peaceful moment in which to think about it, and neither is Assange. At the moment, Assange is the object of attempted crim... read more

Danbury News-Times Reporter Vinti Singh tried to go one week without buying anything from China. It turned out to be a lot harder than she thought. Tom Gilbert is the compost king of Hardwick, VT, which may be the American town most able to feed itself with locally produced products... read more

Contemporary music. New Music. Modernist music. If you want to empty out a concert hall full of symphony subscription holders, just mention your plan to perform that kind of music for the whole evening. That's the dilemma for orchestral music and its various cousins. If the same kin... read more

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the Wikileaks release of diplomatic cables "an attack." Connecticut's Senator Joe Lieberman used to White House to try to shut Wikileaks down. In other quarters, the revelations in the cables are being described as ho-hum or mainly full of indic... read more

My pet theory is that the environmental movement has contributed to the problem of hoarding, but maybe I'm just feeling defensive about my desk. I have a hard time throwing things out if I know they should be recycled. Here in this building, we don't seem to recycle anything. So eve... read more

In Love and Death, Woody Allen's character Boris says: ... if it turns out that there IS a God, I don't think that He's evil. I think that the worst you can say about Him is that basically He's an underachiever. Apostasy to some, but to others, this is the heart of the question. How... read more

Nobody talks about elevator travel until somebody gets stuck in one. But that's not true. As we geared up for this show, we discovered a lot of writing and discoursing about, for example, basic elevator etiquette. How much room you need and what you should or should not do? Ther... read more

Scrambling to fill a hole in today's show on elevators we landed a pretty engaging last-minute interview with Bill Cosby. Cosby toured Southern Connecticut State University and New Haven today to talk about education and the importance of staying in school. We decided to leave s... read more

The cultural theorist and marketing guru Clotaire Rapaille once told PBS that Americans think of cheese as dead. They want it dead. They want it wrapped in plastic, like a body bag, and stuffed in a refrigerator, like a morgue. The French, he said, think of their cheese as a living thin... read more

Is football so inherently violent and dangerous that we shouldn't love it as much as we want to? Can it be made safer and still be football? Is it time to forgive Michael Vick for running dogfights? Is it time to admit there is fatal characterological disorder in Brett Farve? Is the... read more

  For my time and money, one of the best small attractions in the state is the Connecticut Trolley Museum is East Windsor.   One of the best hikes is the Mile of Ledges that departs from Bristol and climbs up and down until it comes to an old Tory hideout from the Revolution... read more

Rap, as it turns out, is not a passing fancy. The genre is more than 30 years old now. But it's exact relationship to mainstream culture is still a bit of a question mark. Rap is one element of hip-hop. Hip-hop is now one very big thread running through the weave of American popular... read more

Having weathered the past political season in Connecticut, I have exactly one question about roller derby ... does anybody own it and make an insane amount of money from it and plan on running for Senate with all that money? I'm pretty sure the answer is no, even though roller derby... read more

Paul Assaiante is famous, even if you don't recognize his name. He's the coach of Trinity's celebrated squash team, currently riding a 224-match winning streak, the longest one in the history of all college sports. There aren't even that many things you could compare it too. This ma... read more

Somehow America decided, as a culture, that we would watch a certain kind of television show before we went to bed. It would be hosted by a man. He would usually wear a suit and tie, while we sat there in our pajamas. He would have a live band and an announcer/sidekick. He would beg... read more

We didn't really plan to talk to Garry Trudeau and about Mark Twain on the same day, but, as a couple, they make sense. Each of them has the same dual reputation as an unflagging humorist and a consummate storyteller. It goes a little deeper than that. There's a way in which each ma... read more

We didn't really plan to talk to Garry Trudeau and about Mark Twain on the same day, but, as a couple, they make sense. Each of them has the same dual reputation as an unflagging humorist and a consummate storyteller. It goes a little deeper than that. There's a way in which each ma... read more

In his first WNPR interview since the election, governor-elect Dannel Malloy went a little further than he has in the past in talking about the relationship that cuts in government spending and tax increases will have to play in addressing the size of the state's  budget crisis. Pe... read more

Most people love miscellanea -- facts that are not part of a fact pattern but, in their own way, stand up and invite us to take notice of them. Most of us carry around with us certain facts that run counter to the public understanding. And sometimes these counter-facts become family... read more

Right after our show today, we found out Republican Tom Foley was ready to concede the gubernatorial election to Dan Malloy.  But the story isn't over yet. The Connecticut Republican Party has asked the chief State's Attorney's Office and the federal justice department for an invest... read more

I remember saying -- less than two years ago -- that my reason for staying alive was the 2012 election, at which time I assumed that Richard Blumenthal and Joe Lieberman would contend for the latter's Senate seat. That was before I knew Chris Dodd would retire, before I knew what kind o... read more

You would think that counting votes wouldn't be that hard. Here's one here. There's another one there. But whenever there's a recount, the numbers come out different at pretty much every site. And today, there are so many theories about vote totals in the Connecticut governor's race tha... read more

On the Colin McEnroe Show today, Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz restated her office's unofficial results for the gubernatorial election, which show Democrat Dannel Malloy with a lead of 3,103 votes. Republican candidate Tom Foley joined the show and said his campaign's internal... read more

If you lived in colonial Connecticut, you would have done all of your voting at town meetings or freemen's meetings. You might have voted by paper ballot but more likely by raising of the hands or "division of house" where people moved to one side or another to indicate their prefer... read more

I suppose we should be doing yet another pre-election show today, but it feels good to be doing, instead, a show about a woman politician who predates Sarah Palin, Hillary Clinton and Linda McMahon by 2,000 years and who played -- for the most part rather masterfully -- a very dangerous... read more

This weekend, anybody famous who isn't on the Mall with John Stewart and Stephen Colbert will be in Connecticut instead. Or maybe both places at once. Glenn Beck will be in West Hartford. Barack Obama will go through Bridgeport. And Bill Clinton will visit the University of Hartford... read more

Here's a quote from an essay titled, "What Has Happened to the American Dream?" "I believe, we have fallen down badly ...The future will be determined by the young, and there is no more essential task today, it seems to me, than to bring before them once more, in all its brightness,... read more

Insomnia, ghosts, death, innocence, purity, crop fertility, marriages between gods and goddesses, the enlightenment of Buddha, cold, darkness, sex, sentimentality, lechery, rain, water ... These are just a few of the things believed to be either influenced by or symbolized by the mo... read more

As you may know, there's a $3.4 billion deficit built into the current state budget. One candidate has really talked about what to do about. Here's Connecticut Mirror reporter Keith Phaneuf's summary: "A higher tax burden, including higher rates for the rich and a modest new contri... read more

Religion and politics don't intersect here in Connecticut as often as they do in other parts of the nation, or maybe they do intersect but a lot more quietly. For most of the election cycles of my adult life, it was never a bad idea to be a Roman Catholic, and many Catholic politici... read more

Storytellling is a stew, and the ingredients are delivery, plot and details. The best storytellers have a gift for weaving in new insights and inspirations each time they tell a story. They also have a gift for appearing to say something for the first time when, in fact, they've told th... read more

For political commercials in Connecticut, 2010 is the perfect storm year. It's the combination of two very wealthy candidates and lots of other campaigns, right down to the state rep level, financed by public funds. Add to that the fact that there aren't many obvious blow-outs on the bo... read more

Jeff Russell is running for the US Senate. Lately, he has been doing that with a phone or a laptop. His plan for getting to WNPR today was to take the bus, although I'm told he also has a van that runs on mixed vegetable oil and petroleum diesel. In other words, he's running with no mon... read more

In New Haven small independent businesses and self-employed people are coming together, sharing physical space, pooling money and creative energy. It's called coworking. In a possibly more radical move, some existing businesses, like Walker Systems Support, are restructuring to push... read more

On Tuesday night, I -- dimly aware that we'd be doing a show about movies today -- dragged myself over to the local multiplex to watch the new Woody Allen movie. Why I thought this was necessary is, in retrospect, a little hard to fathom, but the visit brought a separate topic to th... read more

There's a whole bunch of minor parties active in Connecticut in this election cycle. These include Green, Independent, Connecticut for Lieberman (which is not even remotely for Lieberman, long story), Working Families, Libertarian, and We, The People. I want to say that I reache... read more

One of the paradoxes of modern life is the profusion of imaginative and pleasing music, often produced by artists working outside the pipeline of mainstream pop, and the impossibility of finding it. Maybe impossible is the wrong word, but I think you know what I mean. I'm dimly awar... read more

Maybe one of the costs of the digital revolution is the tactile relationship wit the world that helps us know who we are. In my conversation with Brett McKay, founder of a website called the Art of Manliness, I found myself talking about things you have and touch. A pocketknife, a h... read more

Kevin Rhodes is the fifth candidate to visit Hartford as part of the ongoing search for a new director of the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. He spoke with us about his musical influences, a conductor he doesn't like, and how important it is to wow an audience with every performance.... read more

New Haven, which ordinarily boasts an enviable mix of nightlife and culture, overseen by a benevolent city government -- has been though a nightmarish stretch in which rowdy behavior in the club district segued into a night when gun fire was exchanged between cops and clubgoers. That in... read more

OK, so it turns out we weren't the only people who figured out that tomorrow was John Lennon's 70th birthday, but I think the conversation you're about to hear will be pretty special. Alex Ross, music critic for the New Yorker, has written a new book whose first chapter explores, in... read more

[Listen to the audio to hear a remarkable conversation with Vicki Schieber, who opposed the death penalty for the murder of her daughter, and Mike Fitzpatrick, a defense attorney who has worked on capital cases in Connecticut.]  In 2002, making the final public appearance of her lif... read more

Like baby ducks, we imprint on certain kinds of music at exactly the right, impressionable moment. Mine may have been around 1970 in the midst of a musical mini-movement epitomized by the work of Steve Winwood - first in the Spencer Davis Group and then in Traffic and by Blood Sweat... read more

Last night, Richard Blumenthal and Linda McMahon faced off in their first TV debate in their Senate race.  So, any knockout punches?  Any game-changers? It’s hard to talk about this stuff without sports clichés.  Because, in essence – big debates are like sporting events.  Unlike an... read more

Phone books have gone from indispensable to pitiable in a very short span. As you will learn today, they have been used, in the past, for all sorts off odd purposes including, during World War II, coordinating the firing of artillery. If you worked at a Connecticut daily newspaper,... read more

In the news this week, there were pyrotechnics from New York's combative Republican candidate for governor and a tragedy at Rutgers where the suicide of a young man was preceded by his roommate's use of a webcam to broadcast his private life. There was also the release of a movie about... read more

The landscape of American history is speckled with obscure and not so obscure political parties. In 1948, the Vegetarian Party nominated John Maxwell for president, notwithstanding the fact that he was English-born and ineligible to serve. We had the Toleration Party in the 19th cen... read more

Take a look at Pablo Neruda's Ode to Bread. We've posted it below. It perfectly sums up what we want to discuss in our show today. If you give a person bread, they immiediately wonder what to put on it or have with it. But what about the bread itself? Maybe it's the most perfect thing o... read more

A recent opinion poll showed that 43 percent of Americans think the American Dream is a thing of the past. President Obama heard the same thing from a 30 year old questioner this week at his economic forum. The young law school graduate said he couldn't keep up with his old student... read more

Yesterday, the equinox, was the first day of fall, and today, we celebrate everything about the season -- skillet tossing at country fairs, corn mazes, hard cider, leaf-sucking trucks and the summoning of sensible flesh-covering clothes from our closets. If it ever stops being so warm o... read more

"Your love is fading. // I can feel your love fading. // Girl, it's fading away from me." If you were a teenager in the early 70s, the Temptations (and or Rod Stewart) provided you with the perfect vocabulary for incipient loss and heartbreak. "It's there when you speak my name.... read more

On a couple of occasions last fall, very nice people approached me to ask if I would support a ban or a boycott of "In the Middle of the Night,"  Brian McDonald's book about the Petit murders. I tried to politely and passively let these requests expire.  The circumstances under which I... read more

Earlier this week, WTIC-AM announced that ex-governor John Rowland and his pastor would take over the afternoon drive time slot I had at that radio state for 12 years. I've been told repeatedly that I should be outraged by this, but I'm just not. Yesterday, I happened to be driving... read more

On Thursday's Colin McEnroe Show, we explored the life and work of Robert Natkin, who died last April.  The first retrospective of his work since his death is up in Salisbury now.  For obvious reasons, it's often difficult to talk about the fine arts on the radio, so we've put up this s... read more

Every once in a while you hear somebody say Ella Fitzgerald was overrated. The person saying this usually has in mind Sarah Vaughan or Billie Holiday or Betty Carter or Bessie Smith or all of the above, and the implied notion is that Ella somehow to did not pour her heart and soul and h... read more

Former Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez was sentenced Tuesday to three years in prison (an eight-year sentence suspended after three). The mayor would face an additional  three years of probation under the sentence. He is seeking an appeal of the verdict, which found him guilty of five corrup... read more

Human beings can be seen as big bags of words. As each of us drags his bag across the plain of a lifetime, words are added and words fall out. But the words we acquire in our first 20 years tend to stick to us. I still say "every jot and tittle," but I'm also dimly aware that it's a... read more

In 2009, I didn't get in my car very often. I found I could do most of what I needed to do on my bike. And, of course, that made me feel better in lots of ways. But you have to have a special kind of life to do that around here. My special kind of life was called joblessness. Conne... read more

With each passing year, we seem to have less of a single national culture. Is there really one song of the summer -- the one everybody knows -- the one you can't get away from? If there was one this summer, it was probably by Katy Perry, and I bet 75 percent of the people listening... read more

In 2006, it became obvious to any political journalist paying attention in Connecticut that site meters could change the way we do business. Both Mark Pazniokas and I discovered that, if we wrote the right kind of Lieberman story, our online traffic would go crazy. A 2,000-visitor d... read more

Seals are very attractive. They look like friendly aquatic dogs, and there's also something vaguely human about them. I had one of them -- popping its head up to peek now and then -- follow me along the shoreline of Great Blasket Island in Ireland. So you get legends like the selkies --... read more

When I think about the first weeks of this show in September of 2009, I kind of want to hold my head. It seems to me it was a long time before we did a really good one. I was trying to unlearn 16 years of commercial talk radio. Producer Patrick Skahill and announcer Chion Wolf and I... read more

Moving is horrible. More than other life stressors, it combines physical exertion -- because no matter how much you have the movers do, you will have to get ready for them -- with about 8 kinds of psychological stress. The ripping away of your shell of security and the sifting through o... read more

This week an obscure Wall Street-oriented blog put Hartford on a list of ten dead cities, and, in Manchester, fans of the restaurant Shady Glen were thrilled by the resolution of a crisis involving the cheese they use on a special -- even legendary -- cheeseburger. We analyze and ex... read more

A park is so much more than just a piece of land, and there are certain city parks that invite a rich mix of people bursting with creative, amorous and physical energies. We think Elizabeth Park in Hartford and West Hartford is such a place. Maybe the most important thing about it i... read more

On Saturday I finally made to "Inception." Now, even if you haven't seen the movie, you may know that a lot of it takes place inside the dreams of various characters. And you may know that the movie asks a question we've asked before on this show: How do we know this is reality? For... read more

While listening to this show about the Obama-as-Muslim meme, the debate over the downtown Manhattan community center and mosque and the dust-up between Bill O'Reilly and Jennifer Aniston about sperm donor comedies, one of our listeners, Jane, sent us this: "It is a bit embarrassing to... read more

People get superstitious about pens. Even people who can't afford an "ownership experience" pen like a Montblanc. Jon from New Haven tells us - "I like to write with a cheap, BLUE bic ballpoint pen. I believe that with blue pen, my creative writing improves and, conversely, if I jo... read more

History's most famous scientific retraction was, according to legend, immediately retracted. That would be Galileo in 1633, when he was obliged by the Inquisition to retract his position that the Earth moves around the Sun. Legend has it he muttered, as he left the chamber, Eppur si... read more

It wasn't that one word that Dr. Laura Schlessinger said over and over on her show yesterday. It was everything else. It was her tone, when a black woman -- what was SHE thinking -- called for help with a problem involving the friends of her white husband. Among Schlessinger's remar... read more

An adjunct pleasure to the TV show "Mad Men" is watching the actual commercials produced during that era. They're all on YouTube, and all of us who did homework for this show found ourselves getting addicted to watching first one ... then another and then another. We started with ol... read more

Rob Simmons, a long time fixture in Connecticut politics, conceded his Senate hopes to Republican rival Linda MacMahon Tuesday. After curtailing his campaign, Simmons still managed to win 30 percent of the vote. Rob Simmons got into this race in 2009 as a favorite, a known quantity... read more

Linda McMahon laid the smackdown on her 2 Republican opponents Tuesday night, easily winning 49 percent of the vote. As WNPR’s Lucy Nalpathanchil reports. McMahon promised to bring something different to Washington and she still has plenty left in her campaign coffers to ge... read more

So what happened last night? How did Dan Malloy win by 16 points when the polls said he was trailing by a few? There are all kinds of pundit-y answers, but you could merge them all into a statment like this - "Sometimes a candidate and a moment come together." Malloy was publicl... read more

Today on the show, we'll talk to the Secretary of State and to reporters and pundits about the primary day unfolding in the state. One of the things we'll talk about is turn-out. But to make my producer Patrick Skahill happy, let me talk for 45 seconds about history. Elections i... read more

Ned Lamont lost his second bid for elective office in Connecticut.  WNPR’s Jeff Cohen has more. Lamont’s headquarters never had the feel of a place that was winning.  Finally, just after 9:30, red-eyed campaign staffers made their way to the ballroom at Testo’s Restaurant in Bridgep... read more

GOP Gubenatorial Race was down to the wire, but Foley came out ahead The CT Mirror Reports: A dispute over vote tallies from one of Connecticut's largest cities pushed the battle for the Republican gubernatorial nomination late into the night between Tom Foley and Michael Fedele.... read more

Money doesn't talk, As the New Haven Independent Reports - Connecticut’s Democratic gubernatorial primary Tuesday over Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont. Malloy claimed a come-from-behind victory not just for him, but also for public financing in state elections. Lamont spent... read more

The current vogue for artisanal small batch ice cream is a nostalgia for something most of us never had. Especially baby boomers who grew up in a world where ice cream was sterilized and shaped into blocks or packed into trucks and sold on a stick. Ice cream was not soft and creamy... read more

Nathan Hale's story is about many things. And one of those things is dying young. Dave Brubeck's story is about many things. One of those things is living to a ripe old age.  Both men served in the army -- Hale enlisting as a commissioned lieutenant in the American Revolution , Brub... read more

Nathan Hale's story is about many things. And one of those things is dying young. Dave Brubeck's story is about many things. One of those things is living to a ripe old age.  Both men served in the army -- Hale enlisting as a commissioned lieutenant in the American Revolution , Brub... read more

U.S. Poet Laureate Kay Ryan said it best, "I simply want to celebrate the fact that right near your home, year in and year out, a community college is quietly—and with very little financial encouragement—saving lives and minds. I can’t think of a more efficient, hopeful or egalitarian m... read more

One one the frequently repeated lines of the 2000 and 2004 presidential races was that George W. Bush was the kind of guy voters could imagine having a beer with. Which was an odd thing to say because Bush was, by his own description, a recovering alcoholic. He wasn't having beers with... read more

There has been a mild furor in the last 24 hours over a comment Barack Obama made Thursday on The View. Describing the African-American experience he said, We're a mongrel people -- all kind of mixed up." He said the same was true of white Americans but that black Americans "know mo... read more

Let me put this in perspective for you.  There are 25 or 30 African American representatives in the U.S. Congress right now. None of them is from Connecticut. Of all the black Americans to serve in Congress in the post-Reconstruction Era, only one has been from Connecticut, Gary Fra... read more

Maybe you've noticed that the multiplex somehow has 16 screen and seven films. This is sad because there are weird and wacky films being shot, for very little money, all over the place, including -- chances are -- right near where you're sitting.    The state has set up an a... read more

Probably the best known and longest remembered Connecticut campaign commercial was Joe Lieberman's 1988 cartoon ad depicting Lowell Weicker as a snoozing bear. Lieberman won the Senate seat by a narrow margin that year. No bear commercial, no seat. What is it with bears? One of th... read more

Today, the Colin McEnroe Show examines the possibly crazy theory that the new document dump about Afghanistan, the flap over the MDC reservoir in West Hartford, the battle over the Cordoba House "mosque" near Ground Zero and the Washington Post's "Top Secret America" project last week a... read more

Cinema City was built, I'm pretty sure, in 1973, when multiplexes were a new -- not devoutly to be wished for -- thing. It was kind of impossible to imagine that we would ever grow nostalgic for them. They were in the process of replacing beautiful old single screen movie houses tha... read more

For most of my life, wine was something that happened somewhere else. And if you know anything about me, you may know that I like to buy things made close to home here in Connecticut. So back in the 1980s, I made a little project out of locating a good wine, one that I could serve t... read more

In an ordinary year, at least three of the races for congress in Connecticut would merit extensive coverage. This year, we can barely do them justice, because the ranks of reporters continue to shrink and because there is so much news, with politicians attempting to use a new public... read more

George Orwell in 1946 wrote, in describing official or scholarly pronouncements, "A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outline and covering up all the details."  The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's re... read more

Rupert and Kelly like to drive. They recently made a trip to West Hartford ... from SOUTH AMERICA. Just for fun, the couple made a few pit stops in Canada along the way. I mean what's a few more hundred more miles when you're travelling the world? So far, Rupert and his Land Rov... read more

Even before the latest round of problems, Mel Gibson had become the actor-director you could hate without actually seeing any of his movies. How many people do you know who have even seen "The Passion of the Christ" or "Apocalypto?" He rarely acts anymore. And yet, we're having some... read more

For much of my adult life, I was part of The Cult of Early Risers. If you are one, you probably know some of the other ones in your town. In West Hartford, we are the ones standing in the dark on winter mornings waiting for something to open -- the reservoir gates, the bagel store,... read more

In the summer of 2007, as I was churning through the 759 pages of the final installment of the Harry Potter series, I found myself asking: Is this in any sense a good book? Would I be reading this book if I had not already made a commitment to the series? Does the author seem in con... read more

Today's show is dedicated to Paul the Octopus. Paul, as you probably know, lives in an aquarium tank in Oberhausen, Germany and he has become quite famous for correctly predicting the outcome of every single World Cup soccer match about which his opinion was solicited. He does this by c... read more

It is the mission of the Kohlrabi Liberation Front (a subsidiary of  The Colin McEnroe Show) to raise awareness of the kohlrabi, a humble, highly versatile vegetable which most people could not pick out of a line-up.  On Sunday, Comrade Eloise from GeoRoots Solar Growth Farm in Nort... read more

Here at the Colin McEnroe Show, we took our vacation in June, and we're committed to spending July and August bringing you new shows about the politics and culture of summer in Connecticut. Tonight, there's jazz in Bushnell Park, and lots more of that to come.    We'll also... read more

Here at the Colin McEnroe Show, we took our vacation in June, and we're committed to spending July and August bringing you new shows about the politics and culture of summer in Connecticut. Tonight, there's jazz in Bushnell Park, and lots more of that to come.    We'... read more

Late in 2002, my relationship with Lowell P. Weicker changed, probably forever. I was on a commercial talk station, and I was outspoken in my opposition to our ramping up for war in Iraq. The station's listenership tilted hard in the other direction, and my show had settled in days... read more

Last summer I went to ConnectiCon, the Hartford fantasy convention that drew 7,000 participants, 6,000 of them in wild costumes. I went as a journalist, but I also went as a kindred spirit, a former lonely kid who grew up feeding like a vampire on comic books and what meager associa... read more

Today's show is about two very different collectors, but there are ways in which the collections intersect. Our first story concerns a stolen copy of the Bill of Rights, a copy which eventually made its way into the hands of two of the major figures in the unraveling of Gov. John G.... read more

This is a subject to which I have devoted WAY too much thought, but I do have some theories about what makes a mascot -- I mean a person-in-a costume mascot -- either delightful or terrifying. If it resembles an actual animal, you're usually on safe ground. The guy in the UConn Husk... read more

Heading into this show, I confess to being a little confused. Maybe a title like "the end of men" is just too big or too unlikely to wrap my mind around.  I also confess to being pulled in two directions at once. As the father of a 20-year-old son, I agree with Atlantic magazine's H... read more

Let us not forget that we were launched into the age of 24-hour news cycles by a Supreme Court confirmation hearing. The confirmation of Clarence Thomas was really the first event to test the capacities of multi-channel cable news to cover an unfolding drama loaded up with the three gre... read more

I'm going to tell you something I have not mentioned to anyone, not my girlfriend, my son, Bill Curry, nobody. Some time during the last 5 or 10 years, I started to get very odd about the number 13.  I know, it's such a cliche. You'd think I could at least come up with an original s... read more

  This is the one conversation we're going to have today that will be held in 2010. The concept for today's show came out of one of the dangerous meetings we have where we try to think of ideas we can't easily do. We decided to assemble a show that takes place in the year 2030.... read more

As I was saying to my new friend and one of today's guests, Professor Toilet,  I have a nagging, epic sense of of what Goethe called Toiletteschmerz (toilet sadness.) Neither one of my home toilets really gets the job done. In fact, there’s a huge undocumented class of Americans who... read more

The idea for this show came from several different moments. One of them was the culmination of the one and only season of American Idol I watched all the way through. On the final episode, Fantasia Barrino was the winner with, oddly enough, Jennifer Hudson finishing pretty far back... read more

Recently an acclaimed 17-year-old German author was discovered to have lifted passages from other sources. She was unapologetic. There is no such thing as originality anyway, she said, just authenticity. She's still in the hunt for literary prizes as some of the judges publicly ackn... read more

I was in the courtroom today when the verdict came down. As the crowd exited, a tearful Susan McMullen, chief of staff for Eddie Perez, said to me and Helen Ubinas, "This is a tragedy, a tragedy for the city of Hartford."  She's right. We may not all share her deep sympathy for the... read more

Since 1984 Cirque du Soleil has wowed audiences around the world. The show mixes elements of street performance and live music with circus theatrics with just the right touch of humor. These are serious performers are serious athletes - former Olympians and third generation acrobats... read more

There has been a kind of hush all over the Eddie Perez corruption trial. I don't know whether it's the shrinking local press corps or a kind of pervasive suburban hopelessness about Hartford, but never before has such a big case meant so little to so many. This is, people of Connect... read more

NPR sports star Mike Pesca joins us live from South Africa with an update on the 2010 World Cup. Lots of players are making a big fuss about the tournament's official ball. Meanwhile, South Africans are concerned whether or not their home team will even advance past the first round.... read more

One of our big commitments on this show is to an approach that, whenever possible, melts the walls between categories. We like to look at a thing in as many ways as possible, which is one reason we came down to New Haven today for the International Festival of Arts and Ideas. For tw... read more

Let me start with a few confessions and flashbacks. Pretty much my first big discovery about Peter Schiff was that it was easy and fun (and therefore tempting) to irritate his followers, who are scattered around the nation and can't understand why we don't just anoint him senator. To th... read more

When you travel, you realize just how big a part of city life street performing can be.  My son and I have stood mesmerized on several occasions watching a really good busker. Our hall of famer was a kid on Granville Island in Vancouver who kept up a hilarious wisecracking patter as... read more

The effect of the Internet on culture is one of those subjects where all I seem to want to do is disagree with whomever I'm talking to. So today, in my interview with Internet apostle Clay Shirky, I'll probably annoy him with my current theories about the ways in which web culture is su... read more

It's weird the way Al and Tipper Gore got us all talking about marriage.  Why them? Couples split up all the time.   Sometimes at night I walk around my neighborhood, a nice, densely packed part of West Hartford with lots of single family houses full of single families, and... read more

People think they don't like poetry until they hear it.  I notice this most often in connection with movies.   People who had not bought or read a book of poetry since college watched "Four Weddings and a Funeral" and heard the Auden poem that begins:   Stop all... read more

One nice thing about having a Hartford or a Connecticut team is the way it could potentially settle our restless loyalties. Red Sox or Yankees? Giants, Jets or Patriots? Celtics or Knicks? (OK, that one is currently sort of dormant because the New York team is so horrible.) We spent... read more

One of the first guys to sense this coming was Andy Kaufman. The absurdist comedian seemed to see, back in 1982, a way to link the high drama of professional wrestling to a postmodern sensibility that blurred comedy and genuine anger in a way that was both unblinking and constantly wink... read more

There are two schools of thought on the evolution of the American pop song lyric. One of them is that real craft belonged to the writers of the American song book -- to Ira Gershwin, to Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein and Cole Porter and John Mercer and ... well you get the drift.... read more

Chances are, you were born in a hospital. Throughout your life, you will get some of your most important news in hospitals. News about yourself and your loved ones. Your babies will be born there. You might die there.   Anytime you're in a hospital, you're probably fearful o... read more

Ron Carlson is a wonderful writer -- you might have heard him on This American Life -- who used to live in Lakeville, CT. Ron invented a game called Utah Soccer which -- and this is the test of any new game -- continued to be played up there when he wasn't around anymore. But one su... read more

Colin McEnroe Biography This (I)NTERVIEW is from November 19th, 2009 Colin McEnroe has been a columnist and reporter for the Hartford Courant for over 30 years and currently maintains a weekly column in the Courant’s Northeast Magazine. McEnroe’s columns have appeared in newspap... read more

I dedicate today's show to the memory of Warren Baird my high school journalism teacher and faculty advisor to the Kingswood News of which I was editor in chief.  Mr. Baird taught the only journalism class I ever took. And he didn't have an especially expansive or gonzo attitude tow... read more

Hardly a week after a state Supreme Court ruling eliminated her from the race for attorney general, Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz remains confident that the court was wrong.  WNPR’s Jeff Cohen reports. The state supreme court ruled last week that Bysiewicz didn’t have the n... read more

Every time I think we are done with one of the skirmishes of our culture wars, it turns out we're are not.  For example, I thought there was some kind of armistice on the Vietnam war stuff, especially the question of who got into what non-combat unit. I thought there was a meeting s... read more

Even if you don't follow politics, you couldn't have missed the troubles of Susan Bysiewicz in 2010. To a surprising degree, the story of those troubles is the story of the Internet.   The question of Bysiewicz's eligibility was first raised by a blogger named Ryan McKeen wh... read more

We're here at the Connecticut Convention Center getting ready for the next round of pitched political battles, and if you're a little confused -- at the end of this chaotic week -- I think I speak for Mr. Dankosky and our entire staff when I say we are only slightly less confused. E... read more

The post World War II wave of American parents were pretty laissez-faire. My own were hovering and hypercontrolling by the standards of the day, but even so, they assumed it was perfectly fine for me to disappear from the house at the start of every summer day, nip back for lunch, and d... read more

When you consider the range of every day products invented in Connecticut, you almost feel a little embarrassed never to have invented anything.  Well, I do, anyway. I've lived here all my life in the Tigris and Euphrates of American ingenuity, and I've never invented squat. My best... read more

We go all our lives as journalists hoping there's going to be some really interesting news to report. Yesterday there came a moment where I realized that Richard Blumenthal's political future had been called into question, Susan Bysiewicz had just been ruled ineligible to run for at... read more

Today's show divides my value system. I'm a real first amendment guy. I believe that a greater, unfettered flow of information is almost always good.  So when anonymous commentary became the vogue on the Internet, it didn't bother me very much. Why should the only means of response... read more

George Prochnik joins us today to talk about our love/hate relationship with noise.  But before that, here's a quick story.   This guy joins Trappist monastery. Takes a vow of silence. The Abbot tells him, "After one year, you can come to me and say one word." A year goes by. Th... read more

Most of us will never know what it's like to be a prodigy and most prodigies will never know what it's like to be us. By the time Connecticut violinist Sirena Huang was 8, she already had an international performing career. She was invited to the prestigious TED speakers conference... read more

I'm not sure I've ever made any concrete use of it, but I've known my own Meyers-Briggs personality type for many years, courtesy of today's guest Paul Tieger. Paul assured me that not only am I an INTP - Introverted / Intuitive / Thinking / Perceiving - but that I am the mold from... read more

If you want to know how long a road we took to get to this day, consider that in the 2007 election, the charges against Eddie Perez were already a big issue. For me the story  goes back as far as Sept, 11 2001. Forgotten in the chaos of that day is this: there were primaries in Conn... read more

We could make it about numbers. There are about 98,000 people waiting for an organ donation - that's not the kind of waiting you do for a pizza or Springsteen ticket.   Every day 77 people get the organ transplant they need. Seventeen to 19 die waiting for the organ that nev... read more

What is a good person? Somebody who follows the rules? Which rules would those be? Morality is difficult to define and yet most of us agree there are such things as moral judgment, such things right and wrong. If we have those ideas and if some of them are darn near universal, where... read more

Today we're talking about two kind of music that could not be more different. You'd naturally associate Trinity College with something like the War Requiem, Benjamin Britten's massive piece for orchestra and voice. We'll talk about the War Requiem today, but Trinity College is bring... read more

Hypnosis is one of those terms we all throw around without necessarily knowing what the word really means. And, as we prepare to do this show, I'm far less sure I know what it means.  Today you'll meet two people whose jobs are very different, but whose techniques may turn out to be... read more

Maybe we were crazy to think we could do just one Arbor Day show on trees. There's too much to talk about. There's the overall state of the state's trees and forests. And the the alarming new menace of invasive pests and diseases. There's also the fundamental mystery of trees. H... read more

The writer Steve Rushin has a great expression for those ellipses in print that say things like "F-----g." He calls it obscene hangman, after the old fill-in-the-letters game. That's funny, and it points out the absurdity - or perhaps the quaintness - of pretending that inviting you... read more

I've been reading and kind of cringing through Cormac McCarthy's brilliant novel "The Road." As you probably now, it takes place in world for which the adjective "apocalyptic" is barely adequate. Very little is left alive and nothing is ever going to grow again. A man and his son st... read more

  When we started doing this show, we met, right away, three very cool small Connecticut magazines. The cut-ups at The CuT -- an online magazine for and by Connecticut young adults -- instantly became our favorite essayists. Mark Oppenheimer and Brian Slattery from the New Haven Rev... read more

I think we imprint -- like baby ducks -- on certain movies. We see them at a certain moment in our lives -- usually somewhere in our youth -- when we're ready to love something a certain way.  So I was at one of those ages when I saw Richard Lester's version of the Three Muskete... read more

  Last year i got hooked on an Irish writer named Tana French. Reading her second book, "The Likeness,"  I found myself struggling - just a little - with its major plot point. That there could be two people who so closely resembled each other that one could step into the other's ide... read more

CMS Podcast - Sponsored by St. Joseph College new School of Pharmacy - 11/03/2010
St. Joseph College new School of Pharmacy opening in 2010, pending appropriate approval. Three-year co-educational PharmD program. Focus on your success at St. Joseph College. More at SJC.edu. ... read more
CMS: Doubles and Doppelgangers - 05/07/2010
Last year i got hooked on an Irish writer named Tana French. Reading her second book, "The Likeness,"  I found myself struggling - just a little - with its major plot point. That there could be two people who so closely resembled each other that one could step into the other's identity and... read more
CMS: The Culture Dogs - 05/06/2010
  I think we imprint -- like baby ducks -- on certain movies. We see them at a certain moment in our lives -- usually somewhere in our youth -- when we're ready to love something a certain way.  So I was at one of those ages when I saw Richard Lester's version of the Three Musketeers. T... read more
CMS: Microlit - 05/05/2010
When we started doing this show, we met, right away, three very cool small Connecticut magazines. The cut-ups at The CuT -- an online magazine for and by Connecticut young adults -- instantly became our favorite essayists. Mark Oppenheimer and Brian Slattery from the New Haven Review are o... read more
CMS: Turtles and Bats - In Danger! - 05/04/2010
I've been reading and kind of cringing through Cormac McCarthy's brilliant novel "The Road."   As you probably now, it takes place in world for which the adjective "apocalyptic" is barely adequate. Very little is left alive and nothing is ever going to grow again. A man and his son stagg... read more
CMS: Policing Profanity - 05/03/2010
  The writer Steve Rushin has a great expression for those ellipses in print that say things like "F-----g." He calls it obscene hangman, after the old fill-in-the-letters game. That's funny, and it points out the absurdity - or perhaps the quaintness - of pretending that inviting you... read more
CMS: Tree Talk - 04/30/2010
Maybe we were crazy to think we could do just one Arbor Day show on trees. There's too much to talk about. There's the overall state of the state's trees and forests. And the the alarming new menace of invasive pests and diseases. There's also the fundamental mystery of trees. How do th... read more
CMS: Mind Games - 04/29/2010
Hypnosis is one of those terms we all throw around without necessarily knowing what the word really means. And, as we prepare to do this show, I'm far less sure I know what it means. Today's you'll meet two people whose jobs are very different but whose techniques may turn out to be start... read more
CMS: Symphonies and Sambas - 04/28/2010
Today we're talking about two kinds of music that almost could not be more different.  You'd naturally associate Trinity College with something like the War Requiem, Benjamin Britten's massive piece for orchestra and voice. Well, we're talking about the War Requiem today, but Trinity Coll... read more
CMS: The Heart of Beth Bradley - 04/27/2010
  We could make it about numbers. There are about 98,000 people waiting for an organ donation - that's not the kind of waiting you do for a pizza or Springsteen ticket. Every day 77 people get the organ transplant they need. Seventeen to 19 die waiting for the organ that never came. Ap... read more
CMS: Political Roundtable - 04/26/2010
This is an unusual year in Connecticut politics in so many ways.  Let's focus for a moment on two. It's unusual to have so few incumbents. Incumbents have so many advantages that it's big news when they lose. Although all five of our Congressional races feature incumbents, almost nothing... read more
CMS: Music Magazine - 04/23/2010
Music finds and feeds our better fools. That sounds like a famous quote, but I just made it up. But it's true. There is nothing on the back shelves of CVS that can turn my mood around as fast as music, and lately, I've been soothing myself with the jazz vocals of Dana Lauren, a Hartford a... read more
CMS: How New Haven Got Its Groove Back - 04/22/2010
We don't want to overstate how cool New Haven is, because there are lots of wonderful mid-sized cities around this state with their own colorful and interesting scenes. Middletown and New London, for example, are newly bustling these days. But New Haven seems to have made a whole group of... read more
CMS: Thomas Moore - 04/21/2010
Chances are, you were born in a hospital. Throughout your life, you will get some of your most important news in hospitals. News about yourself and your loved ones. Your babies will be born there. You might die there. Anytime you're in a hospital, you're probably fearful or hopeful or bo... read more
CMS: Live! in New Haven - 04/20/2010
Here is a semi-horrible admission. During four years of college here in New Haven, I all-but-skipped the Wooster Street pizza scene. I knew it was there, but I just couldn't be bothered to haul myself across town and wait in line for pizza. That was ... well, it was a long time ago. But i... read more
CMS: Allergies - 04/19/2010
Remember that 2008 movie "The Happening" where it turned out the trees were kind of rejecting us, trying to get rid of this pest, the human race. Except for Mark Wahlberg and Zoey Deschanel? Well, it's, um, happening. The trees hate us. And they are making us very sick this spring.My son... read more
CMS: A Shout Out to Debaters - 04/16/2010
It's getting to be an old story -- the way the highly verbal, thoughtful nerds from high school find lasting meaning in life, while the hugely popular handsome babe magnet jocks waste away in unrewarding auto sales jobs. Yes, it's an old story. An old, old, old story. Why do we former ner... read more
CMS: The Mystical Arts of Tibet - 04/15/2010
"Free of distraction, free of clinging, free of meditation. Beyond intellect: Remain in the state beyond intellect. Great Perfection. Selfless, unborn, free of extremes, inexpressible." Remain in the ineffable state of the Great Perfection. So says Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche. But it's so diff... read more
CMS: The Power of a Flag - 04/13/2010
It's hard to quantify but I think it's fair to say that people who come to the United States from other countries often think we're a little bit weird about our flag. It seems to them we display it more and argue about it more. It would make more sense if -- as was the case with Northern... read more
CMS: The Necessity (or not) of Critics - 04/12/2010
When I got out of college, I  knew almost nothing about the real world. Even more disturbingly, I didn't seem top know much about Western Civilization, despite all the time and money spent on educating me. In many ways, what I know today about Sibelius and Grieg and Degas and Bougoureau a... read more
CMS: Community Colleges - 04/09/2010
U.S. Poet Laureate Kay Ryan said it best, "I simply want to celebrate the fact that right near your home, year in and year out, a community college is quietly—and with very little financial encouragement—saving lives and minds. I can’t think of a more efficient, hopeful or egalitarian mach... read more
CMS: What Shakespeare Sounds Like - 04/08/2010
Dankosky keeps his revels here to-day: Take heed Chion come not within his sway; For Dankosky is passing fell and wrath, Because that she in her blithe habit hath Left us now and fled to Moorish Spain She never had so sweet respite from rain. And jealous Dankosky would have the show... read more
CMS: Mechanics of Morality - 04/07/2010
What is a good person? Somebody who follows the rules? Which rules would those be? Morality is difficult to define and yet most of us agree there are such things as moral judgment, such things right and wrong. If we have those ideas and if some of them are darn near universal, where do th... read more
CMS: Political Roundtable - 04/06/2010
We knew 2010 would be a crazy year in Connecticut politics. But maybe we didn't know how crazy. In recent days, the front runner for the post of Attorney General has spent five hours in court answering questions about whether she's ever really been an attorney. It makes her nomination loo... read more
CMS: Baseball Codes - 04/05/2010
I have this vague impression, unsupported by anything, that NPR listeners are less likely to be avid sports fans. That's OK, because for years I wanted to do sports shows for people who care only glancingly about sports. Today is one of those rare days when a lot of things come together.... read more
CMS: Physicality of the Book - 04/02/2010
In the little Mexican beach town of Akumal, there's a grocery store, and in the grocery store works an American woman named Charlene. Charlene is in a wheelchair. She's from California originally, but she moved to Akumal long long ago after her first visit. Just went home and sold everythi... read more
CMS: A Gazetteer of Strange Science - 04/01/2010
We'd probably be better of talking about Sarah Palin or Ryan Seacrest or something today, but sometimes we like to do a show about some of the cool ideas we run across in our gleanings. This show episode started with the idea of mesofacts, which is information that changes over the durati... read more
CMS: The Wonderous World of Bugs - 03/31/2010
When asked what his studies of nature had taught him about the mind of God, the British biologist JBS Haldane is said to have answered, "He is inordinately fond of beetles." By which he meant that whoever made beetles didn't stop after making one kind. There are more than 40,000 different... read more
CMS: Avast! It's An Ocean Show! - 03/30/2010
As the weather warms up, we turn our gaze toward the sea. Maybe not so much today, but in general, I think we do. And as we shift our gazes to the sea, it is important to remember that Connecticut has been home to pirates and privateers. And it is important to sing sea chanteys. Or at lea... read more
CMS: Groovin' to that Beatnik Jive - 03/29/2010
I seem to have a small, slightly resentful story for every occasion. It's about 1969. I'm 15. Making my first pass through "On the Road." I don't know what to make of it exactly. It's so wild and expansive and my life, at that moment, is so confined and cautious. I'm visiting a friend wh... read more
CMS: The Perfect Heist - 03/24/2010
True story - when I was growing up, my father and his mother-in-law (my grandmother) didn't exactly dislike each other. They just had nothing in common, nothing to talk about. Which was a problem because, for years, he gave her a 25-minute car ride five days a week. One day, as they pass... read more
CMS: Bling and Benz in 2010 - 03/22/2010
Rich people and Connecticut politics are not total strangers. Because I am 117, I remember politicians named Lodge and Alsop. I remember Weicker and the series of Fairfield County opponents to challenge Chris Dodd in previous years. Guys with no political experience, but some money with w... read more
CMS: The Genius in All of Us - 03/19/2010
This is sort of a horrible story. When I was entering a new school in the 7th grade, we were given IQ tests and somehow, by accident, the results of those tests were left in a folder that was handed to my parents. Not just my results. The whole incoming class. My mother was exactly the w... read more
CMS: Music Magazine - 03/18/2010
Today on the show, we're going to put that whole notion of the universality of music to the test. Tania Miller comes in as a candidate for the Hartford Symphony conductor's job. She currently holds the baton of the Victoria Symphony. She's young enough to have grown up digging Def Leppard... read more
CMS: Mr. Smarty Plants - 03/16/2010
The idea that plants are pretty much inert seems to prevail everywhere but in science fiction -- and sci fi comedy -- where Triffids and Killer Tomatoes and Audrey II and Pod People are just the tip of the iceberg lettuce. A few years ago "The Happening" laid an eggplant at the box office... read more
CMS: Math for the Nonmathletic - 03/15/2010
Ten or 15 years ago, when I was in my forties, I agreed to take the SAT's again and write about it for Men's Health. Long story short, I got an 800 on the verbal, because -- really -- what else had I done for the intervening 20 or 30 years but move words around? On the math, not so much. ... read more
CMS: Welcome to 2030. - 03/12/2010
This is the one conversation we're going to have today that will be held in 2010. The concept for today's show came out of one of the dangerous meetings we have where we try to think of ideas we can't easily do. We decided to assemble a show that takes place in the year 2030. At first, th... read more
CMS: Magazine - 03/11/2010
Sometimes we like to introduce you to a series of people doing new and/or interesting things here in Connecticut. So that's the plan today. You'll meet Deborah Hornblow who has just launched a new central Connecticut Arts and Leisure online magazine and Tim Coffey who took stunning portra... read more
CMS: Triumph of the Nerds - 03/10/2010
As Huey Lewis once sang, "It's hip to be square." The problem was, of course, that it was Huey Lewis, which is somehow not all that reassuring. And yet there is a growing sense these days that the nerds are inching toward culture dominance. I mean, one of the good things about being a ner... read more
CMS: A Pen Warmed Up in Hell - 03/09/2010
"Everything is changing. People are taking comedians seriously and politicians as jokes." A timely observation, had it not been made by Will Rogers about 100 years ago. Rogers also said nothing important is ever left up to a vote of the people. He's a good example of the tradition we will... read more
CMS: Oscar Recap - 03/08/2010
If I seem a little crabby this morning, it's because I've already had to listen to a 40 minute soliloquy from Bill Curry about how much better Avatar is than The Hurt Locker. And he hasn't even seen The Hurt Locker. He thought it was a chain of stores where they sell sports equipment and b... read more
CMS: Motherhood Out Loud - 03/05/2010
James Joyce said: "Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world, a mother's love is not." There is something about motherhood, about a mother's love that often seems like the strongest force in the universe. Your mom will love you whether you deserve it or not. But all of... read more
CMS: Free-Appropriation Writers - 03/04/2010
Recently an acclaimed 17-year-old German author was discovered to have lifted passages from other sources. She was unapologetic. There is no such thing as originality anyway, she said, just authenticity. She's still in the hunt for literary prizes as some of the judges publicly acknowledg... read more
CMS: Evidence of the Afterlife? - 04/14/2010
Woody Allen said he didn't believe in an afterlife but he was bringing a change of underwear just in case. He also wrote of his fear that there was an afterlife but that no one would know where it was being held. In the 1980s, it was sort of being held in Connecticut -- a hotbed of resea... read more
CMS: Going Organic - 03/02/2010
I keep thinking we'd all feel a little saner if we produced a little more of our own food. You're never gong to get the supermarkets out of your life, but I've been looking at my own scrubby little quarter acre of God's green earth and wondering why I don't grow a little bit more to eat on... read more
CMS: The Pint Man - 03/01/2010
I've never thought of it quite this way before but there is, of course, a gigantic trope in literature having to do with pubs and taverns and bars and other drinkeries. James Joyce and Flann O'Brien and Fred Exley and Charles Bukowski and JP Donleavy ... I could go on. The pub is, after a... read more
CMS: Black 47 - 02/26/2010
What does it take to make it as a musician in Connecticut? Special guest host Anthony Fantano explores the question with Larry Kirwan, frontman of the influential Irish rock band Black 47. Black 47 will play the Half Door in Hartford, Saturday, March 6 at 9:30 p.m. Also, a discussion wi... read more
CMS: Magazine - 02/25/2010
Should Doris Day get a special Oscar? How did foreign correspondent Paula Butturini use food to heal the wounds of war? And on an extended edition of "Let Us Correct You," Herb Reich has written a book about common misconceptions. If you think George Washington was our first president, St.... read more
CMS: Connecticut State Troubadour - 02/19/2010
One of the nice things about this program is that we're not always thinking about the things everybody else in the news media is thinking about. In fact, we almost never are. But it is right that we check in, every so often, on the world of public policy and on some of the major debates gr... read more
CMS: John Larson - 02/19/2010
One of the nice things about this program is that we're not always thinking about the things everybody else in the news media is thinking about. In fact, we almost never are. But it is right that we check in, every so often, on the world of public policy and on some of the major debates gr... read more
CMS: Defining Freeganism - 03/26/2010
One "advantage" of financial setbacks is that they retrain your eyes to look at the curbside. If you're young and underpaid, recently separated, or laid off, you're more likely to understand and appreciate the amazing world of stuff people are getting rid of. Just because it has become wo... read more
CMS: Eavesdropping on the Brain - 02/17/2010
We know that music has a tremendous and not entirely logical impact on the brain. I've been noticing that lately, as the skimpy, but important musical part of my life seems to be the only thing that beats the late winter blues. But today we turn the question on its head. If the brain its... read more
CMS: Sea Tea Improv - 02/11/2010
A few years ago my son and I discovered the comedy improv scene in New York City, mainly at the Upright Citizens Brigade, comedy birthplace of Amy Poehler, and at the Magnet Theater, where one night we paid five bucks to see a group named Four Track and wound up repeating one of their rout... read more
CMS: Repressing the Depression - 02/10/2010
Earlier this year, I became entranced by the 75 year old story of Four Saints in Three Acts, a Virgil Thomson - Gertrude Stein opera whose world premiere was here in Hartford in 1934. Beyond that lay a bigger story of the way America culture and Connecticut specifically rose to the challe... read more
CMS: Monthly Music Mayhem - 02/09/2010
Wally Lamb and I have known each other for 20 years, but I think I wasn't REALLY a FOW -- friend of Wally -- until "The Hour I First Believed" came out in galleys and I got my copy with a two-CD set of songs Wally believed I should be listening to while reading the book. It wasn't that big... read more
CMS: Sebastian Giuliano - 02/08/2010
Middletown Mayor Sebastian Giuliano on the tragic loss of life at Middletown's Kleen Energy and his hope to move forward in the aftermath of Sunday's deadly explosion. You can join the conversation. Leave your comments below or e-mail colin@wnpr.org... read more
CMS: Middletown Aftermath - 02/08/2010
We had a different show planned for today, but that's a small disturbance compared to what was visited yesterday on the workers at Middletown's Kleen Energy site, their families, the rescue teams and the people of Middletown. Today on our show, we turn to Middletown, an up and coming Conn... read more
CMS: Alternative Olympics - 02/16/2010
We kick off our Olympic coverage with guests representing the national grocery bagging championships and the World Rock Paper Scissors Society. Also Andrea Turrisi, a Hartford stylist who has coached Team USA in HAIRWORLD – the world championship of beauty. The Winter Olympics are basica... read more
CMS: Microarts - 02/05/2010
The national arts ecology is more fragile than since the Great Depression and the Fed's WPA. For dance, it's especially acute. The City of Hartford is attempting to secure Federal Stimulus Act monies for a round two of "arts and heritage" job grants, How about, instead, small strides loca... read more
CMS: Burials - 02/04/2010
A confession. This is not my favorite topic in the world. Mike Wallace once asked Woody Allen if the latter hoped to live on in the hearts and memories of his fans. "No," said Allen. "I hope to live on in my apartment." That's right about where I am too. The only burial custom I find at a... read more
CMS: Our Inner Voyeur - 02/03/2010
A few years ago -- my son was 14 or 15 -- we were in the audience of the Upright Citizens Brigade, a comedy improv venue in New York City. Onstage was a spoof called "The Paris Hilton Sex Tape -- with Director's Commentary," which involved imposing the usual pretentious director's commenta... read more
CMS: Film Talk - 02/02/2010
We don't have that many rituals that bind us together, but the Academy Awards sort of fill that role for some of us. We use movies to help us dream. And then we find out what the "best dreams" are. Today, NPR's David Edelstein will lead us through the Academy Awards. And then he and I and... read more
CMS: Manufacturing Depression - 02/01/2010
During the political season of 1996, The Wall Street Journal published an article on the nation's inexplicable and unshakeable good mood. It was hard for Bob Dole and other challengers of incumbency to make any headway, the article said, because people just seemed to feel pretty OK about... read more
CMS: Deconstructing the Amistad - 01/29/2010
Robert Wolff studies collective memory. It's a relatively new field that works to deconstruct historical narratives of the past and critically examine how stories are told and who's telling them. Wolff is currently working on a larger project focused on the Amistad and the abolitionis... read more
CMS: R. Nelson "Oz'' Griebel - 01/29/2010
You've probably heard some of the stories about Oz Griebel. The time he foiled a bank robbery by a fake Santa Claus and battled with him on the back of of moving truck full of dead Christmas trees. Or the time when, dressed as a bear, be bounded out of the woods to wrestle an inhaler away... read more
CMS: Advice Columns - 01/28/2010
When we noticed that Theaterworks in Hartford was staging a one-woman show about the life of Ann Landers, it made us think about the modern state of the advice column. Ann and her twin sister Abby are gone, but that kind of column is not. In fact, it seems to flourish on the internet which... read more
CMS: Manners in a Digital Age - 01/27/2010
In the movie Gran Torino, the character played by Clint Eastwood is appalled to notice his granddaughter texting during her grandmother's funeral. It just doesn't seem that improbable. Somehow, the digital age has cut loose a whole new howling wind on boorishness. At a more subtle level,... read more
CMS: Urban Biking - 01/26/2010
In 2009, I didn't get in my car very often. I found I could do most of what I needed to do on my bike. And, of course, that made me feel better in lots of ways. But you have to have a special kind of life to do that around here. My special kind of life was called joblessness. Connecticut... read more
CMS: Super Bowl Advertising - 01/25/2010
The single greatest Super Bowl ad ever, in my opinion, was not the Orwellian Apple ad but a spot for E*Trade in 2000. The look was that of an amateur video. The setting: a ramshackle open garage. A chimpanzee flanked by two blank-faced men, turns on a boom box and begins to dance to, I be... read more
CMS: Helping Haiti - 01/22/2010
In Mountains Beyond Mountains, his book about Dr. Phillip Farmer and Haiti, Tracy Kidder wrote: "The world is full of miserable places. One way of living comfortably is not to think about them or, when you do, to send money." For decades, most of us have been doing a pretty good job doing... read more
CMS: It's Snowmageddon! - 02/12/2010
Here's one of the small secrets of life. The best time to go grocery shopping is during the early stages of a big snowstorm, when the white stuff is falling. People clear out, and you can have the place to yourself. My mother, rest her soul, was one of the great snow panickers of all time... read more
CMS: Five Crazy Theories of TV - 01/20/2010
Here at the Colin McEnroe Show, we got a little weary last week of all the Conan-did-this and Jay-said-that. We wondered if there were any more creative ways of looking at the state of modern television. Or creative old ways. I say this because a lot of my own thinking right now is driven... read more
CMS: Connecticut's Clean Elections - 01/19/2010
Connecticut began the new century with a wave of political scandals and then passed the 2005 “Clean Elections” law to limit the influence of private money and get candidates out of the fund-raising business. In 2008, candidates made heavy use of the new public financing system, and the re... read more
CMS: Are You Living in a Computer Simulation? - 02/23/2010
OK, OK, I  admit, this is the weirdest show we've ever done. This is the kind of show Bill Curry yells at me about. But the minute -- at one of our planning sessions -- somebody said, "How do we know  this is reality?" we knew we had to do a "How do we know this is reality show?" At first... read more
CMS: Classic Gaming - 01/14/2010
Today's show has several elements, including, near the end, a rare chance to try what we call open lines. I'll have a few stray topics to cover in that stretch and I welcome your calls on other issues. We'll begin with one of those odd stories where fiction bleeds back into fact. It's the... read more
CMS: Susan Bysiewicz - 01/13/2010
Colin chats with Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz. Bysiewicz announced today she would drop out of the race for governor, despite a substantial lead in the polls. She will instead run for attorney general. You can join the conversation. Leave your comments below or e-mail colin@wnpr.or... read more
CMS: Great Unfinished Works - 01/13/2010
I started to think about this show when I read about author Larry Kramer, laboring to finish a book project called The American People. The book is already 4,000 pages long. Many of us have some big artistic project that never seems to get finished. That's a pretty common condition. But t... read more
CMS: Downtowns - 01/12/2010
When the talk turns to downtowns - especially in the northeast and maybe especially here in Connecticut - one word pops up in every conversation and document. Renaissance. If belligerent aliens flew their space ship over a northeastern city and blasted the whole downtown to smithereens le... read more
CMS: Making a Spectacle of Yourself - 02/22/2010
I got my glasses in the third grade. They're an accessory for me the way my spleen is an accessory for me. Eyeglasses send all kinds of messages, but we're not always sure what they are. The synergy between a face, its underlying personality and the frames you slide over the ears is prett... read more
CMS: New Eating Patterns - 01/07/2010
Diet guru Emily Brooks joins Linda Pitrowitcz from the Department of Agriculture to discuss Colin's ongoing diet. And WNPR's Chion Wolf tries a variety of whole foods and vegetables. Don't worry, Chion, we'll have the "sick" bags handy. You can join the conversation. What are you doing... read more
CMS: Richard Blumenthal - 01/07/2010
Richard Blumenthal is concluding two decades as Attorney General and launching a bid to replace Chris Dodd as Connecticut's U.S. Senator.  What about the compatibility of doing both of those things at once? Attorney General is kind of an odd job. The modern AG tends to get involved is a l... read more
CMS: Weicker on Dodd - 01/06/2010
WNPR's Colin McEnroe speaks with Lowell Weicker about why he thinks Sen. Christopher Dodd decided not to seek re-election in 2010. Weicker was a maverick politican in Connecticut - a former Governor and Senator, he formed his own "A Connecticut Party" - and has long been an independent vo... read more
CMS: Dodd Bids Farewell - 01/06/2010
Let me drop all pretense of impartiality for a moment and say this: Those of us who like and respect Chris Dodd are breathing a sigh of relief today. The one thing I didn't want to watch was Dodd running his Senate race all the way to the wire and losing. And I think that was a real possib... read more
CMS: Mushrooms are Mysterious - 01/11/2010
Mushrooms and fungi: these have to be the creepiest things we eat. They're not really fruits or vegetables. There's the whole thing where they grow on dead stuff. Some of them are flat out lethal poison. Others will make you see a balrog waving its flaming sword over Waterbury. Their who... read more
CMS: Trash Talk - 01/05/2010
We all know it. Especially at this time of year, we feel it keenly. We produce too much trash. I've tried to adjust my behavior a little. Canvas bags at the store -- when I remember. Composting. I live in a town that recycles pretty vigorously. Most weeks, my big green town-issued single... read more
CMS: The Einstein Question - 01/04/2010
Einstein lived a storied life. And in death, he's became almost superhuman. We venerate his intellect. We accept his theories without question. But is it possible that some of his most treasured ideals, some of his most fundamental contributions were ... well, wrong? Colin tackles that q... read more
CMS: Conducting with Tito Muñoz - 01/04/2010
Colin continues a series of interviews with the candidates who are speed dating the Hartford Symphony Orchestra to compete for the soon-to-beopen conductor's job. These conversations provide an opportunity to talk about the future of live symphonic music and about the increasing challenge... read more
CMS: Keep Smilin' Connecticut - 12/30/2009
It seems to me there are two questions we have to deal with today. The first is -- what does it mean to say the residents of a certain state are happy? (Or not happy)? In Gary Greenberg's soon-to-be released book, "Manufacturing Depression," he writes that "Am I happy enough?" is to a cer... read more
CMS: The Man Who Made Sherlock Holmes - 12/29/2009
“It is too little to say William Gillette resembled Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock Holmes looks exactly like William Gillette.” - Orson Welles The cape. The deerskin cap. The phrase "Elementary my dear Watson." All of these were inventions of William Gillette, the eccentric Connecticut actor w... read more
CMS: "Big Al" Anderson - 12/29/2009
Big Al Anderson played guitar for more than 20 years with the legendary rock band NRBQ, before leaving to pursue a career as a Nashville songwriter and sideman. He joins us in studio to perform live, explore his Connecticut roots and talk about what it was like to hit it big on the rock c... read more
CMS: Legalize Drugs - 12/28/2009
If you know anybody with a drug problem, the idea of legalization or decriminalization gets tougher to support. If you've seen a friend or family member lose months and years to a habit that interferes with productivity, progress, ambition, relationships, intellectual development, it's a... read more
CMS: Lost Art of Letters - 02/24/2010
I've got a folder containing memorable letters. The bulk of them are from Roy Blount Jr., pound for pound the funniest living correspondent in America. If anybody's doing a collection, I've got some doozies, all written of course before e-mail ruined everything. But what I'm really struck... read more
CMS: Poetics of Boxing - 12/22/2009
We kick things off with an essay by Thersea Cramer from the CuT Magazine. And then Andy Thibault joins poets Ravi Shankar and Amy Ma to talk about the Connecticut Young Writers Trust. On Jan. 15 the organization will hold a "Triple Knockout Event" featuring writing seminars and a celebr... read more
CMS: Spike Jones - 12/22/2009
Listening to Spike Jones, you realize that Will Ferrell and Saturday Night Live did not exactly invent cowbell humor. In fact, comparing one to the other is like comparing Maria Callas to Cher.  What you're struck by, listening to his berserk orchestral routines from the 1940s is (a) the... read more
CMS: The Culture Dogs - 12/21/2009
I saw three movies this weekend: "Avatar," "The Fantastic Mr. Fox" and "Glastonbury Kids." I liked Avatar the least. I didn't hate it, and even if I did, I wouldn't say so here on the third floor of the Dankosky Building where Libby Conn has started a militant Avatar Fan Club. Believe me,... read more
CMS: Rocking Around the Holidays - 12/18/2009
There are some holiday songs that should banned. I'm sorry Burl Ives, but there's really no reason for anybody to have to hear "Holly Jolly Christmas" ever again. And Little Drummer Boy? There's almost no way to describe the sinking feeling that tune gives me. Except, well, to call it a... read more
CMS: Glastonbury Kids - 12/17/2009
After graduating film school, Justin Donais was looking for a project and began filming his younger brother and his neighborhood friends on a trip back to see family in Glastonbury, Conn. It started as a short documentary about young teen boys whose lifestyle was influenced by "Jackass,"... read more
CMS: The Great Organic Diet - 12/17/2009
Emily Brooks and Linda Piotrowicz continue the Thursday trend of giving Colin diet advice. With a background in culinary arts and holistic nutrition, Emily believes in eating whole unprocessed foods and, whenever possible, foods drawn from nearby small farm sources. And Linda, from the D... read more
CMS: Accents and American English - 12/16/2009
People who would never tolerate any other obvious form of prejudice often make an exception for accents. Something sounds smart in a British accent and dumb in a Southern accent, right? On the other hand, there's something genuinely funny about accents. And the more you know about them, t... read more
CMS: Hunting for Work - 12/15/2009
It's almost a year ago since the day -- December 23, 2009, but who's keeping track -- that my boss at the old radio station called me and told me they were terminating. And oh, would I be OK staying on the air for another week so that they could announce this on New Year's Eve? I remember... read more
CMS: Bring on the Birds! - 12/14/2009
The population and behavior of birds around Connecticut have both changed dramatically, often as a result of what appears to be a pincer movement of habitat destruction and climate change. As we know, you can't pull one animal out of the ecosystem jigsaw puzzle. What happens to one has im... read more
CMS: End of the Year Jazz Roundup - 12/11/2009
Do you get intimidated by jazz? I do. I started going to New York jazz clubs while I was in college, which was shortly after the close of the American Civil War. And I still don't feel as though I really know what's going on. Once, when the Hartford Courant jazz critic Owen McNally was s... read more
CMS: The Great Diet Experiment - 12/10/2009
Colin embarks on a bold and dramatic journey into the world of diet and exercise. And he invites you to come along for the ride. Today the diet starts with some basic measurements, but in the weeks ahead, Colin will explore ways to change permanently the way you eat, so that you feel bette... read more
CMS: The Word Guy - 12/10/2009
To who it may concern. Today's show is comprised of complaints about grammar and usage, and et cetera and so forth. Clearly, it is going to be better than any of the other shows on this station were today. (That's a reference to a listener complaint that people use the word "clearly" to p... read more
CMS: Exploring Connecticut's Roads - 12/09/2009
The Berlin Turnpike has changed a lot over the years. Hotels have come and gone and businesses -- from bowling alleys to diners -- have shuffled in and out. But one thing has remained constant - the road. Sure, traffic has decreased as highways developed, but the lure of the turnpike and... read more
CMS: Seahorses - 12/09/2009
We don't ordinarily like to pry into anybody's reproductive habits,  which is why our Tiger Woods coverage has been basically nil. But we're making an exception for seahorses today. I mean, who dances and mates for three days? I was at wedding in Detroit once that was a little bit like... read more
CMS: Holiday Blues - 12/08/2009
A long time ago we started a regular feature called I'm supposed to love it but I hate it. When we asked for ideas, we heard a lot about parades and clowns and Tom Hanks and ...well, the ideas were all over the place. But then the e-mails started to focus on one general area. New Year's E... read more
CMS: Bad Music in Public Places - 12/07/2009
When you hear a song on this show, chances are, I picked it out, maybe tracked it down on iTunes. There's at least one catchy song about every topic. We're talking about Seahorses Wednesday. There's one really good seahorse song. But today's show is about bad music in public spaces and I... read more
CMS: Worship Traditions - 12/04/2009
Over the course of a complicated life, I've sailed through the doors of an awful lot of churches and temples and mosques. I've been inside tent revival meetings and group meditations and well ...you get the picture. I'm always a visitor. I don't really feel at home, but I've almost never... read more
CMS: On Charity - 12/03/2009
The people, who in my opinion, were the most confused about today's topic were the Puritans and any other immediate descendants of John Calvin.  Because, according to them, you really couldn't do anything to make God like you any more or any less. Grace was irresistible. Salvation was unc... read more
CMS: Theology with Bishop Rosazza - 12/02/2009
So, to get ready for today's interview for Bishop Peter Rosazza, I've been cramming. Tomas Merton, Thomas Moore, Marcus Borg, Yoda, you name it. But it's really Merton who seems best able to prepare me for this talk, and he has this lovely passage about not preferring things to people that... read more
CMS: Worship Music - 12/01/2009
So I used to room with a Jewish guy who played the French horn. And during the Advent season he would add himself to the brass choir at the local Congregationalist church. He really liked playing those carols. And he got along with the people at the church so well that inevitably someone w... read more
CMS: Prayer - 11/30/2009
So, OK, I don't pray. Not so much. And I can't really say it's working out for me. But I was up at a conference in late summer at the Omega Institute and I heard somebody talk about the idea of at least, at the start of every day, thinking a thought that connects you to something meta - G... read more
CMS: The Lure of the List - 11/25/2009
There are two kinds of people in this world. One, the kind of people who like to make lists. And two, the kind of people who know what Kohlrabi is. See, that's a flawed list. There's something wrong with it. But to figure out what's wrong with it, you'd have to talk to somebody who's good... read more
CMS: Obsession of Collection - 11/24/2009
You know how it is. You meet somebody. You hit it off. You meet for coffee. Maybe go for a walk in the reservoir. And then, one day, you get invited to his or her house. There you discover a collection of hundreds of dolls in glass cases. Dolls with very fixed stares. And it's like, "Aiii... read more
CMS: Into the Woods! - 11/23/2009
My knees are so creaky now that the days of five hour walks are over, but I wouldn't say I got short-changed on the woods of Connecticut. There are some magical places around here. But it's also true that some of our oldest and most-loved trails now seem to dive in and out of development... read more
CMS: Cartooning - 11/20/2009
I love cartoons and comic strips. I'm part of a small but crazed following that believes that Pogo, the creation of Walt Kelly of Bridgeport, is as profound and enduring a commentary as American culture has ever produced. You heard me right. I think Pogo, taken in aggregate, is as good as... read more
CMS: Twilight of the Polymath - 03/23/2010
My father was enamored of the Renaissance Man and wanted me to be one. You know how it is, when you father uses one particular phrase, over and over for decades, so that you know it's coming -- here it comes -- he's gonna say Renaissance Man! He took me to Annapolis so I could see St. Jo... read more
CMS: Sleep - 11/18/2009
Our romantic songs are full of sleep and dreams. An old saying, apparently from Venice, is "Bed Is Medicine." Sleep is desirable in so many ways. And for many of us, it is quite elusive. I never did sleep very well, but I feel, these days, as if every new addition to our culture is an arg... read more
CMS: Musing on the Mustache - 11/17/2009
OK, so moustaches. They aren't one thing. The droopy cowboy look of Sam Elliot is not the same as that weird pencil-thin under-no-circumstances-trust-me thing John Waters has. You can have a gray moustache -- like Dan Cain or Ted Turner -- and look just a tiny bit raffish. But a darker mou... read more
CMS: Political Roundtable - 11/16/2009
As a public radio listener, you probably believe that picking out a governor or a senator is serious business, worthy of sober scrutiny and not at all a matter for levity. You might want to skip today's show ... No, no, that's not right. But we ARE introducing a new political roundtable o... read more
CMS: Speaking on Snark - 11/13/2009
Lewis Carroll may have been the first to coin the term "snark" in his late 19th-century nonsense poem, "The Hunting of the Snark." What is snark? It's what Americans regularly see on The Daily Show and The Office. It's what Ambrose Bierce wrote about in his watershed 1911 satire, The Devi... read more
CMS: Conducting with Constantine - 11/12/2009
A live orchestra, playing great music with spark and cohesion and commitment, is such a mind-blowing thing that you understand, sitting the darkness, why people give over their lives to the whole concept, even in the teeth of a doddering economic model  and an audience shrinking faster tha... read more
CMS: Alchemy, Magic, Myth or Science? - 11/11/2009
For ages, humans have sought the Midas touch. Yet the ability to turn basic metals to gold still confounds scientists. We'll explore the history of alchemy with Carolyn Rebbert of the Bruce Museum in Greenwich. Their exhibit, "Alchemy: Magic, Myth or Science?" opened in September. It wil... read more
CMS: A Slice of Satire - 11/11/2009
Randy Cohen is former TV comedy writer who now publishes a weekly humor column for the New York Times Magazine. He's an experienced satirist who has won several Emmy Awards for his writing on "Late Night With David Letterman." Cohen also wrote and edited the News Quiz for Slate for two ye... read more
CMS: On Monsters ... - 11/10/2009
Comedian Mike Birbiglia, in his monologue about sleepwalking, talks of a consistently terrifying dream in which some kind of beast -- a jackal with wings -- hovers over his bed, poison dripping from its fangs. And a series of girlfriends learns to say, as he thrashes in terror, "Michael th... read more
CMS: Eating Animals - 11/09/2009
If you have any soul at all, you are going to have days when the whole issue of eating meat becomes, well, an issue. Unless you have already stopped. We know animals can suffer. And there is no way to eat them without  making them suffer. So you can be a vegan or a vegetarian. You can do... read more
CMS: Exploring Our Rivers - 11/06/2009
The point of any trip is partly the distance traveled, partly the sights seen, and partly something else that almost doesn't have a name. That third thing is an ineffable amalgamation of memory and shared experience. It's the person you met or the talk you had with your traveling companio... read more
CMS: Dancing with Judy Dworin - 11/05/2009
What I know about dance you could squeeze into a shot glass, but I have been thinking a lot lately about the performing arts. I've been thinking that they're necessary for all of us. We should all sing, dance, act, declaim and do comedy. If you go back 4,000 years, my sense is... read more
CMS: Pondering Poker - 11/04/2009
I don't play poker, and if I did, I probably wouldn't be good at it. But what if you were a college student, drawn -- as practically all college students seem to be these days -- into the world of online poker? And what if, instead of getting behind, you got ahead? What if your survived... read more
CMS: Spotlight on Local Elections Part II - 11/03/2009
We under value local elections. They get the worst turnout despite the fact that they may touch us most immediately. Low turn-out tends to concentrate power in the hands of small groups of single issue soreheads which can lead to bad results which can undermine people's faith in the proces... read more
CMS: The Ballad of Wendell Potter - 11/02/2009
Allow me to reintroduce myself. I'm Colin McEnroe. I'm 55. I have severe arthritis in my right knee. I take a statin. From the point of view of most health insurance companies, I'm an undesirable. Actually, make that ALL health insurance companies. More alarming still, I'm not really acti... read more
CMS: Chion Wolf Rockin' Halloween Eve Special - 10/30/2009
Halloween is the reason the American candy industry will never need a federal bailout. I mean, if we had a holiday when people had to hand out Chevys to kids who rang the doorbell ...well, I guess that really isn't practical. But Halloween is more than that. We honor the notion that the v... read more
CMS: Redundancies & Roman Coins - 10/29/2009
One of the questions to which I return has to do with who gets to decide the truth when the facts are murky. I've been talking to my own class at Trinity about this lately as we look at the way new crowd-driven information models like Wikipedia try to elbow out the experts. But it's as mu... read more
CMS: Bringing Back the Sonnet - 10/28/2009
Some years ago, my friend Humphrey Tonkin approached me -- and many other people in the Hartford community -- about a project. Each of us would be assigned a Shakespeare sonnet to record. There were politicians, writers, educators, savants. You never knew. One of the best readings came fro... read more
CMS: Is DNA Destiny? - 10/27/2009
Who is truly comfortable with his or her own genetic story? The idea that some recording angel of polypeptides has already written a good chunk of one's future is ...confining. We want to think we're in the driver's seat of our lives. I sent a sample of my saliva to a company called 23 a... read more
CMS: Talkin' Tea - 10/26/2009
For a lot of us, tea is a little like poetry. Maybe we think we don't want it. And then somebody hands it to us and we realize how good, how restorative, how subtle it can be. Last spring I was staying at a secondary school in Japan where Tea is offered as a course that one can take for s... read more
CMS: The Culture Dogs - 10/23/2009
A Maurice Sendak Book of very few words is now a 90 minute movie doing boffo box office. On television, Joseph Fiennes stopped being Shakespeare and started being an FBI agent unstuck in time, in what some people think may be -- Lord help us -- the new "Lost." Who can make sense of it al... read more
CMS: Big Brother Is Watching - 10/22/2009
I teach a class on new and old media at Trinity College, and -- even though it's not the exact focus of the course -- lately we've been kind of freaking each other out about the sheer amount of information we surrender voluntarily every day to platforms like Google and Facebook. As one of... read more
CMS: Playwrights - 10/21/2009
One day in the 1940s, the New York Times carried an article about man nobody had ever heard of, a man who had been living in a boarding house right here on Asylum Hill in Hartford. The man had been unfit for military service and had spent the years of World War II working at United Aircra... read more
CMS: Freemasonry - 10/20/2009
You know, at the age of 55, I am basically a seething cauldron of prejudices and foregone conclusions. I've made up my mind about all kinds of subjects. But when it comes to freemasonry, I am sitting on life's 50 yard line. I feel neither protective nor aggressive toward them. I have no r... read more
CMS: The Sinatra Show - 10/19/2009
My mother was a bobbysoxer. When Sinatra played Hartford, she and her friends waited at the stage door and followed him around, throwing snowballs at him. My father couldn't remember more than five words to any song, but he walked around the kitchen all through my childhood singing the be... read more
CMS: Take Me Out to the Ballgame - 10/16/2009
In my grandmother's Plainville apartment, right where any religious family would have some kind of votive statuary or icon, stood a foot-tall molded plastic of Ted Williams in full swing. For years, decades, the Splendid Splinter stood watch over us. These were mostly lean times for the cr... read more
CMS: Birthday Bash - 10/15/2009
OK, so there are several things going on  today. Yes, it is my birthday, and yes, we have declared it International Wear A White Shirt Day and, no, we have not figured out yet whether that was a really cool thing to do or whether we, here in the Dankosky building, are like some kind of fun... read more
CMS: Classical Conundrums - 10/14/2009
Live from the Asylum Hill Recital Hall where the WNPR Orchestra is tuning up to play Dankosky's Seventh -- The Symphony of Stress, it's the Colin McEnroe show. It's time to get serious about music. From the lovely, loneliness of Brahms, to the turmoil of Bowzer to the music written by i... read more
CMS: Memorization - 10/13/2009
I stored everything I needed to remember in a mobile phone device called a Sidekick. Maybe you've heard of them. They've been in the news lately because the system backing them up crashed. For me, six years of data, thoughts, ideas, lyrics, appointments, book titles, photos, numbers, email... read more
CMS: Monthly Music Mayhem - 10/12/2009
So one day a couple of years ago, I was using iTunes, and I looked at the little feature that tells you what you might like based on your recent purchases, the the number one suggestion was something by Vampire Weekend, and I thought, "Wow." ITunes thinks I'm ready to get into Vampire Week... read more
CMS: Evolving Art - 10/09/2009
Without really knowing very much about art, I've been hanging around museums for most of my life and, lo, after a few decades, I finally started having a few moments where I understood, in a flash, what was going on up there on the canvas. And I've tried to raise my son in much the same w... read more
CMS: Westledge School Lives ... - 10/08/2009
Westledge -- forty years later.   In the late 1960s, a group of progressive educators and parents founded an experimental school in the fields and woods of West Simsbury. No grades. Students setting most of the school's agendas. A mix of inner city students attending at no cost and afflue... read more
CMS: "Wannabe U" - 10/07/2009
So I teach one college class a year, at Trinity College. And one the first night, ever year, I tell them that I'm not a real professor and that therefore I am not wedded to the idea that there has to be a course taught by me and that people have to take it. It's not a default setting.  A... read more
CMS: Where's My Money? - 10/06/2009
OK, I admit it. I'm one of those liberal arts guys who, for many years, just didn't deal in any significant way with money, except in this Freud and Norman O. Brown driven way that amounted to not acknowledging its importance. Actually, I'm still not persuaded I was wrong, but as we grow... read more
CMS: The Secret and Public Lives of Bees - 10/05/2009
Winnie the Pooh thought the only reason for bees was to make honey and the only reason for honey was so that he could eat it. Nice bear, lousy scientist. But we're not here today to knock down the arguments of a stuffed animal. We're here to learn about bees -- from the role they can p... read more
CMS: I'm Dying Up Here ... - 10/02/2009
So a guy walks up to me on Asylum Hill and says he hasn't eaten all day. I said: "You should force yourself." I go to the track. I bet on a horse. In the race, the jockey's hitting the horse. The horse says, "Why are you hitting me?  There's nobody behind us." Comedy has been with us si... read more
CMS: The Fast Show - 10/01/2009
When I first moved over to public radio, I wondered if I'd ever do shows like the one I did in my old job. You know, where you cover a lot of different segments in much smaller bites. Public radio provides such a great opportunity to go into depth. It almost seems a shame or a sacrilege to... read more
CMS: Crowdsourcing - 09/30/2009
Crowdsourcing -- you may not be familiar with the term, but if you've rented a movie based on a Netflix recommend or read an article on Digg.com, you're certainly familiar with the concept. It's the idea that on the Internet, the cream rises to the top. The masses will always gravitate... read more
CMS: The XX Factor - 09/29/2009
Sometimes they're funny -- as when they videotaped themselves trying to get through a work day while drinming as much as the characters do on Mad Men. Sometimes they're dead serious, as when one of them recently analyzed the 72-hour news cycle of the accusations of gang rape at a Hofstra... read more
CMS: The Coffee Show - 09/28/2009
From the moment the fruit of the coffee bush was first harvested and consumed -- probably in Ethiopia -- humankind knew it was dealing with some serious stuff. In some cultures, it was a religious beverage, banned from secular use. In others, it had political qualities, as it became a reas... read more
CMS: 2012 - Fact or Fiction? - 09/25/2009
Scholars are taking the whole Mayan apocalypse with a grain of salt, but many are convinced Dec. 21, 2012 spells doomsday. Colin speaks with a number of experts to clear the air around the 2012 myths. We'll talk about the history behind the legends and tell you what you need to be worried... read more
CMS: Puppet Apocalypse - 09/24/2009
Puppets! Aiiiieeeeeeee! Connecticut is home, for some reason, to a lot of puppets. A lot of them. Really a lot. What are they doing here? Do they hate us? Do they plan to drain our life forces and take over? Bart Roccoberton will talk about the joyous side of puppetry. He runs the puppet... read more
CMS: Sidney, Behind the Barking - 09/23/2009
Sidney, beloved dog of WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil, was recently featured on the cover of Weezer's new album, "Raditude," due out Oct. 27. Colin speaks with Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo about how he chose the jumping pooch for his latest production. Later, Colin explores the dramtic narrat... read more
CMS: Canine Cognition - 09/23/2009
Well, there's some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that, no matter what you think, your dog Fluffy cannot really read the New York Times or follow the plot of most prime time TV shows. Except maybe "Two and a Half Men." The good news -- well, maybe it's good news -- is tha... read more
CMS: The Sentence - 09/22/2009
For writers, the sentence is the construction site. It's where you put on your hard hat and do the work of fitting and refitting, polishing and sanding, until to have something that is ... you know what? This sentence has gone on way too long. Sentences are still the basic unit of communi... read more
CMS: Get Healthy! - 09/21/2009
Cough in your elbow. Get a flu shot. Wash your hands long enough to sing happy birthday. Drink a little wheat grass every day. Practice safe sex. Never leave the house ... Everybody worried about germs and viruses, but as the peak season approaches, do we really know what we're doing? Sho... read more
CMS: Urban Farming and Growing Local - 09/18/2009
Colin welcomes Will Allen, winner of a 2008 McArthur "Genius Grant" for his groundbreaking work with Growing Power, an urban farming collaborative. We're also be joined in studio by Hannah Gant and Shannon Raider of the Four Fields Farm in Bloomfield. Mike Kandefer from New Britain's Urb... read more
CMS: Music We Love and Hate - 09/16/2009
Remember the good old days when there were basically forty songs you had to know about and any given moment.? And if one of them was Surfin Bird by the Trashmen, really you were down to 39 ... Now, new music flies at us from unseen corners, and you're more likely to be really into an indi... read more
CMS: Steampunk - 09/14/2009
Expert artist Joey Marsocci joins us to set the record straight. Marsocci exhibited several "steampunk" creations earlier this year in Middletown. He was recently selected as one of four Americans chosen to participate in an international steampunk exhibition in Oxford England this Octobe... read more
CMS: Blogging the News - 09/14/2009
On today's show we talk about blogs and blogging. Blogs have been with us since the late nineties, but they really exploded into the mainstream in 2004. Five years down the road, does this once-formidable form look like it's losing a little steam? Traditional media is in trouble,... read more
CMS: Mad about 'Mad Men' - 09/11/2009
This show is gonna be so easy a caveman could do it. Today we enter the world of advertising with actor Michael Gladis. He's not an Ad Man, but he plays one on television on the hit AMC series Mad Men. But what do real ad men, especially those who worked in that smoke and booze ridden Si... read more
CMS: Hatian Vodou and Zombies Too! - 09/10/2009
Usually, we get a little nervous talking about zombies sitting this close to the actuarial departments of several major insurance companies. But not today. Our thoughts turn both to zombies and to Vodou, the Haitian religion which spawned the original notion of them.  By the end of today... read more
CMS: Tattoos - 09/15/2009
From the lines and dots on the body of Otzi the Neolothic iceman to the tramp stamp barely visible on the bridesmaids dress, the urge to ink seems an inseparable part of the human story. But why? Why do some of us want to do it, and why are some of us repelled by the idea? Why did I get... read more
CMS: Spotlight on the Arts - Hartford - 09/08/2009
Can you tell it's time for American Buffalo? Theaterworks is staging the David Mamet play for the third time in the theater's history, and for the third time I have not been cast. Steve Campo, the director will join us to talk about Buffalo and an ambitious plan for his little slice of dow... read more
CMS: Culture Dogs - 09/04/2009
Who let the Dogs in? That’s the Culture Dogs -- Kevin O’Toole and Sam Hatch -- who join Colin for an hour of geeking out about what’s in the multiplexes and the new release DVD racks. Colin and the Dogs will also tell you what to watch for in the coming fall season.... read more
CMS: Handwriting - 09/03/2009
Do we even need handwriting anymore? Kitty Burns Florey thinks we do. In a world overrun by texts and emails, KBF is one of the last outposts of penwomanship. Call the show and tell us about the nun who made you the readable writer you are today. Also in studio, Terry Walters joins Colin... read more
CMS: What It Takes to Disappear - 09/02/2009
Wired.com contributor Evan Ratliff has disappeared. On purpose. How hard is it to keep from getting caught, if you try to drop off the information grid? Evan’s editor from Wired visits the show along with Connecticut cyber-sleuth Bill Murray. Will TCMS producer Patrick Skahill try to fake... read more
CMS: Lary Bloom Talks Tom Ridge - 09/01/2009
Lary Bloom was the editor of Northeast magazine. He’s been a columnist for the New York Times Connecticut section and for Connecticut magazine. Fewer people know that he co-wrote Tom Ride’s new wave-making book The Test of Our Times: America Under Siege ... And How We Can Be Safe Again.  C... read more
CMS: Gail Collins - 08/31/2009
Colin talks politics and culture with NY Times columnist Gail Collins. Later in the show, an episode of "Back and Forth" with Trinity College professor Irene Papoulis. Colin and Irene chat about Archie comics, gender identity and Archie's recent marriage choice.... read more
CMS: The Art of Great Songs - 03/25/2010
The idea for this show came from several different moments. One of them was the culmination of the one and only season of American Idol I watched all the way through. On the final episode, Fantasia Barrino was the winner with, oddly enough, Jennifer Hudson finishing pretty far back in t... read more
CMS: Bracketology - 03/17/2010
Bill Curry joins comedian Julia Pistell to talk bracketology. What goes into predicting tournament winners? How much of it is luck? How much of it is skill? Every year, the madness gets madder. More pools; more brackets; less productivity in the workplace as the American people become for... read more
CMS: Reviving the Classics - 09/17/2009
He's a classics professor with an XBox -- and he doesn't play by the rules. Roger Travis teaches the ancient materials using the newest media. He's turned the classical world of the Greeks and Romans into online games. Hey, if you eat that bird you get five more spears! Also, he believe... read more
CMS: Living off the Grid - 09/09/2009
We have this image in America of the rugged individualist taking leave of society and all that binds us to our settled lives.  But then when somebody actually does this, I mean, for real, we're not always ready for that. That's what Mark Perry found out the first couple of times he tried t... read more