Jonathan McNicol | Connecticut Public Radio
WNPR

Jonathan McNicol

Producer, The Colin McEnroe Show / Host, The Second First Season

Jonathan started at WNPR as an intern in 2010 and was hired later that year. In his work, Jonathan is always just trying to figure out a little bit of how the world works, while paying special attention to the absurd and the just plain goofy. He is as likely to produce a show on America’s jury system as he is a story on all the grossest parts of the human body. His work has been heard nationally on Here & Now and locally on WNPR’s talk shows, on Morning Edition, and on All Things Considered.

Jonathan comes to radio from a background in, of all things, graphic design. He lives in the greater New Haven area.

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Jonathan McNicol / Connecticut Public Radio

My son, Simon, is a year old. His mother and his grandmother are both librarians. His father is, well, me. Simon is, predictably, obsessed with books.

Back before everything changed, we'd gotten into a pretty good reading routine. Every morning before Simon went to his grandparents', we'd read a big pile of books. Every evening when I got home from work, we'd read a big pile of books.

We'd read Goodnight Moon. We'd read The Little Blue Truck. We'd read Peek-a Who? and Peek-a Moo! and Peek-a Zoo! We'd read Who Hoots? and Who Hops? We'd read Dear Zoo and Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? and Each Peach Pear Plum and Spooky, Spooky, Little Bat and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? And then we'd probably read them all again.

Disney

Last Friday night, Disney released the #1 movie in the country -- Pixar's Onward -- for digital download on iTunes/Amazon/etc. It's safe to say, that's the first time that's ever happened.

When you say "the #1 movie in the country," you're talking about what was #1 last weekend or maybe last week. Onward was also the #1 movie in the country specifically on last Thursday... when it made $33,296. There are times when movies make that per screen.

There's a movie on that domestic chart that one person went to see. It made $6. That movie, though, wasn't at the bottom of that chart… because there are three movies on that chart that no one went to see. In the country.

Kathea Pinto / flickr creative commons

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Humans have been using soap for literally millennia -- nearly five of them... at least.

And while there's a run on alcohol-based hand sanitizers, it turns out that good, old-fashioned soap is a simpler, more-reliable way to destroy all that coronavirus that might be all over your gross, dirty hands.

Hulu, LLC

As with all things, The Nose has never been a Nose quite like this week's Nose. First off, for almost every Nose ever, we've put four (sometimes more) people in a radio studio for an hour. This Nose is four people talking to each other from very separate places, and none of them is a radio studio.

Meanwhile, we've said goodbye to movie theaters. Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson and Idris Elba have all tested positive. People have been using Tinder as a news service. I mean, it's hard to imagine that we'll ever go back to normal.

And so, we might as well watch some TV then, right? The Nose has tried out Hulu's new adaptation of High Fidelity with Zoë Kravitz in the lead role.

Jonathan McNicol / Connecticut Public Radio

The NBA, the NHL, and Major League Soccer have all suspended their seasons. Major League Baseball canceled spring training and postponed opening day until at least mid-May. The NCAA canceled March Madness (which would've started in earnest today) and, in fact, all of its winter and spring sports championships. Tennis's French Open is postponed until September, and soccer's Euro 2020 is postponed until 2021.

There have been cancellations and postponements in archery, badminton, canoe-kayak, cricket, curling, handball, judo, rowing, rugby, sailing, shooting, skating, snooker, sumo, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, water polo, weightlifting… The list goes on.

Put a bit more simply: Sports is canceled.

Princeton University Office of Communications

John McPhee is a writer's writer. He's thought of as one of the progenitors of the New Journalism, of creative nonfiction or narrative nonfiction, along with people like Gay Talese and Tom Wolfe and Hunter S. Thompson. But his style is... quiter than those folks'. His writing is transparent. He tends to keep himself out of the narrative. He doesn't even, in fact, have an author photo.

Netflix, Inc.

Katy Perry dropped a new single and video (which we apparently call a "visual" now) on Wednesday night. The video ends with what's being called "a stunning reveal."

And: A pair of new comedy specials caught the Nose's eye. Pete Davidson's Alive in New York on Netflix and Whitmer Thomas's The Golden One on HBO are both kind of... sad-funny? Funny-sad? And maybe in a particularly millennial way.

Warner Bros.

The movie musical died a long, slow death a long time ago. Right?

Well, except that there's La La Land. And Moana. And The Greatest Showman and A Star Is Born and Mary Poppins Returns. Oh, and Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman. And Frozen II and The Lion King and Aladdin.

Those are just from the last five years. And I could keep going, but then I might forget to mention that Steven Spielberg's version of West Side Story comes out this year or that the Hamilton movie comes out next year.

This hour, a long look at the long-dead movie musical. Long live the movie musical.

Lionsgate

Quarantine culture is coming. Maybe. So we start with a look at the coronavirus in comedy, COVID in culture, etc.

And then: Knives Out is Rian Johnson's fifth feature film as writer and director. It's mostly a howcatchem in the vein of Columbo and an all-star ensemble cast murder mystery in the tradition of Agatha Christie adaptations like Murder on the Orient Express. It was nominated for three Golden Globes, including Best Picture (Musical or Comedy), and Johnson's screenplay was nominated for an Oscar. It's out on DVD/Blu-ray/4K and for rental on iTunes/Amazon/etc. this week.

Jonathan McNicol / Connecticut Public Radio

Laura Nyro's most famous compositions -- "Stoned Soul Picnic," "Stoney End," "When I Die," "Wedding Bell Blues," "Eli's Coming" -- are jewels of mainstream music, and her covers of songs like "Jimmy Mack" and "Gonna Take a Miracle" are legendary.

But she was uncomfortable under the spotlight and withdrew from it to become the Belle of Danbury.

On December 13, 2019, the House Judiciary Committee voted to recommend two articles of impeachment against President Trump, and the full House of Representatives adopted them on December 18. On February 5, 2020, the Senate acquitted the president on both articles.

Going by those dates, the full, official impeachment saga lasted 54 days.

Our side-project, Saturday-show chronicling of the impeachment, Pardon Me (Another Damn Impeachment Show?), launched on December 6, 2019. 11 episodes and 12 hours of radio later, Pardon Me has come to its close.

This hour, in lieu of a proper Colin McEnroe Show, and continuing the Presidents' Day weekend festivities, we present the final installment of Pardon Me.

Four Department of Justice prosecutors working on the case of Roger Stone, a close friend of President Trump, withdrew from legal proceedings Tuesday after Attorney General William Barr overruled their sentencing recommendations. The president had complained about the long sentence.

Barr denied that President Trump asked him to intervene and claimed he wouldn't be "bullied or influenced by anybody." He said Thursday that the president should stop tweeting about DOJ criminal cases. The president took to Twitter Friday to say he has the "legal right." Shortly therafter, the DOJ dropped their probe into former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

Before you think this is more than theater, keep in mind that Barr also set up a process to vet information that Rudy Giuliani is gathering in Ukraine. And he tasked prosecutors to review the case of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

Home Box Office, Inc.

The Outsider is a planned 10-episode HBO miniseries based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. It airs on Sundays nights, and we're six episodes in so far. The premise is actually pretty simple: What if a guy actually were in two places at once? Then what? The ramifications of that, though, are about as complicated as you'd expect from Stephen King.

And: a look at the Gayle King/Snoop Dogg controversy, our latest edition of Carolyn Paine Explains a New Dating Term, and Netflix finally changes that one thing you've always hated... unless you didn't hate it.

Note: This episode contains strong language.

This hour, we air an updated version of the most recent episode of our weekly impeachment show, Pardon Me, which normally airs Saturdays at noon.

The Senate acquitted President Trump on both articles of the impeachment. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, was the only Republican who voted to convict the president on one charge, for "egregious" behavior he believed rose to the level of a "high crime and misdemeanor."

LOREN JAVIER / flickr creative commons

Every year, The Nose almost accidentally ends up covering a broad swath of the movies that wind up being nominated for Oscars.

I was a little worried this year, though, that some nonsense that's going on with the government (and its attendant preemptions) might prevent us from seeing and talking about as many of the awards season movies as we'd like to.

It turns out that, one way or another, we somehow got to 15 Oscar-nominated films accounting for fully 71 Academy Award nominations. Phew.

Note: This episode contains strong language.

The Senate acquitted President Trump on both articles of the impeachment. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, was the only Republican who voted to convict the president on one charge, for "egregious" behavior he believed rose to the level of a "high crime and misdemeanor."

President Trump responded with anger. He fumed at his perceived enemies at Thursday's National Prayer Breakfast. They include members of Congress, people on his staff, FBI agents, and even the state of New York. Senate Republicans hoping for a more subdued Trump were wrong. Others knew better. One remains hopeful.

John Eckman / flickr creative commons

We've done this show every year around this time for some number of years now. Unless we missed a year or two in there somewhere. But we've probably tried to do this show for every year that The Nose has existed. Of course, we aren't really sure how many years The Nose has existed.

But the point is: The 92nd Academy Awards are this Sunday, and so this hour, it's the 2020 edition of The Noscars, which will cover movies from 2019 just like the 2020 edition of the Oscars covers movies from 2019. Or something.

The Senate has voted, 51 to 49, not to subpoena witnesses or documents in its impeachment trial of President Trump. Closing arguments are expected on Monday, and a verdict could come next Wednesday afternoon.

This week, Colin and The Gist's Mike Pesca puzzle over the Republican strategy and Alan Dershowitz. He's the Trump attorney who argued that the president could engage in a quid pro quo that benefited him personally as long as he believes his reelection is in the public interest. Dershowitz believes the media misunderstood his argument. These are his words.

And New York Times TV critic James Poniewozik gets into the impeachment as television. He's not entirely sure democracy will be renewed for another season.

Chief Justice John Roberts scolded House managers and the President's counsel early Wednesday for using language beneath the dignity of the world's "greatest deliberative body." This, after Senator Susan Collins complained about "unsettling comments" she felt went against Senate rules of decorum.

Speaking of decorum, senators played with fidget spinners and did crossword puzzles while House managers made their case for impeachment. Enough of this pettifoggery!

President Trump fretted this week that White House lawyer Pat Cippolone and personal lawyer Jay Sekulow lacked experience on television. So he added a few TV-ready lawyers to the mix, each with scripted roles to play.

This week, Lawfare's Benjamin Wittes and Susan Hennessey argue that President Trump has changed the presidency from one of public service to one that serves his personal interests. Will we ratify his vision or reject it? It may be up to voters to decide.

Also this hour: Slate's Stephen Metcalf thinks Trump is a hostage to 1979. Why else would he be obsessed with U.S. embassies and Jimmy Carter?

And singer/songwriter Lara Herscovitch proves music is the antidote to our troubled times.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

Sam Mendes's World War I drama, 1917, is currently the #1 movie in America. It won Golden Globe Awards for Best Director and Best Picture -- Drama, and it's nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, and Cinematography. The cinematography nomination is probably the least surprising one, as the entire movie is shot to look as though it was one long, unbroken take.

This hour, we air an updated version of the most recent episode of our weekly impeachment show, Pardon Me, which normally airs Saturdays at noon.

Law professor Bruce Ackerman argues that President Trump's order to kill Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani is a far graver offense than his efforts to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden. Think about it: He's bragging about his decision to kill a high-ranking official of another country. Will Chief Justice John Roberts save us?

And that's the positive view on the show this week.

Law professor Bruce Ackerman argues that President Trump's order to kill Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani is a far graver offense than his efforts to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden. Think about it: He's bragging about his decision to kill a high-ranking official of another country. Will Chief Justice John Roberts save us?

And that's the positive view on our show this week.

Sarah Kendzior studies autocratic governments. She thinks we'd be foolish to believe there are limits to what the Trump administration would do -- whether jailing witnesses and whistleblowers, threatening protesters, or using nuclear weapons.

Chion Wolf / Connecticut Public Radio

The Rise of Skywalker is the third and final movie in the third (and final?) trilogy -- the sequel trilogy in the trilogy of trilogies -- in the main, so-called "Skywalker Saga" of the Star Wars narrative. It's the eleventh Star Wars movie overall, the fifth since Disney bought Lucasfilm and took over the franchise, and the second directed by JJ Abrams (after The Force Awakens, the first of the Disney Star Wars films and the highest-grossing movie in the history of the United States). It is... somewhat divisive. The Nose weighs in.

And: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have announced that they're backing away from their role as royals.

Plus: Winter. You either hate it, or you love it.

Last month, we launched a whole other show. It's a weekly show airing on Saturdays at noon and hitting your podcast feeds on Fridays most weeks hopefully. It's called Pardon Me (Another Damn Impeachment Show?). It's about all the latest trends and tech in the world of industrial welding. Wait, no. That's not right. It's about the impeachment, silly.

Professor Michael Gerhardt argues that the impeachment process is legitimate, despite efforts by President Trump and his defenders to deny it. It is the president's conduct that is not normal.

Gerhardt was one of four law professors summoned by the House Judiciary Committee in December, to share their legal expertise on whether President Trump's conduct met the legal threshold for impeachment. Three out of four of them believe it did.

Also this hour: State Department witness George Kent's bow tie and Rep. Jim Jordan's jacket have their own Twitter accounts. Nancy Pelosi's dagger-like gold pin turned heads on the day she opened up House debate on the president's impeachment. We talk about the fashion semiotics of impeachment.

Peter Sokolowski, lexicographer at Merriam-Webster, fears we're currently having a crisis of meaning in our cultural understanding and use of words.

How do we understand phrases like "fake news"? Does it mean news that has no relationship to reality or is it how President Trump refers to truth-based news he doesn't like? What is an "alternative fact"?

There's a good chance that President Trump knows that the stain of impeachment will be part of his legacy. And as damning details about the president's behavior trickle out, we're realizing how much we still don't know. This may explain why impeachment may be more popular than we realize.

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