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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Sand is the most abundant material on Earth. And, other than water and air, sand is the natural resource we consume more than any other -- more, even, than oil.

Alfred A. Knopf, Publisher

The Times of London has said that Martin Amis "is as talented a journalist as he is a novelist." His latest collection of essays and reportage covers 1994 through 2017, Travolta through Trump.

Amis joins us for the hour.

Paramount Pictures

Colin's quite fond of this little piece of trivia: Tom Cruise was five years older during the production of Mission: Impossible -- Fallout than Wilford Brimley was during the filming of Cocoon. And it seems we're all okay with Tom Cruise as a 56-year-old action star. Fallout's opening weekend was the biggest for a Mission: Impossible movie and the second-biggest of Cruise's career.

Fallout is the best-received movie in the M:I franchise too. If you had to pick the five best blockbusters of this decade, you could put together a totally reasonable list made just of Tom Cruise movies. (Here, look: Edge of Tomorrow, Jack Reacher, and the last three Mission: Impossibles. See?) In fact, at this point, if you like high-concept summer popcorn movies, but you don't like comic books/Star Wars/Star Trek/Harry Potter/etc.... what else even is there besides Tom Cruise movies anymore? Not much.

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Kneeling has historically been an act of supplication. An act of reverence, of modesty. An act of submission, even.

But then Colin Kaepernick started kneeling during the national anthem at football games, and eventually, the president of the United States called him and other players like him a "son of a bitch."

And now a Haddam Selectman has started kneeling during the Pledge of Allegiance, and people are calling her names too -- and calling for her to resign.

Republic Records, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

Ariana Grande already had a top 10 hit from her forthcoming album, Sweetener. As of this week, she's got songs at numbers six and eleven on the Billboard Hot 100 with the debut of her single "God Is a Woman." The song and its video have become somewhat controversial in certain corners of the internet.

And: Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl was a literary phenomenon in 2012. In its wake, film/television rights for her previous novels were snapped up. And now, six years later, HBO is airing an eight-episode (and only eight episodes, by the way) miniseries adapted in part by Flynn and starring Amy Adams.

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Though country music is considered the most popular genre of music in America, its influence is profoundly regional. The style is known for appealing to the white working class, and is largely sequestered in southern and midwestern pockets of the country.

Meanwhile, coastal elites tend to regard the genre with disdain. "I like everything but country" is a popular refrain.

Netflix

Hannah Gadsby is an Australian comedian and writer. Her new Netflix special is Nanette. There are certain ways it's a different sort of comedy special than you're used to. It's, for instance, more of an art history lecture than you'd probably expect. Its audience laughs much less than you're used to. And it'll probably make you cry more than other specials have. Those idiosyncrasies are just some of the reasons Nanette is "the most discussed comedy special in ages."

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During his remarkable career with the Boston Red Sox, Ted Williams earned many nicknames: The Kid, The Splendid Splinter, Teddy Ballgame... but the only nickname that he ever wanted was "the greatest hitter who ever lived."

Discovery Communications, LLC

Thomas Harris's Hannibal Lecter series. "Criminal Minds" on CBS. In the past year, there've been "Mindhunter" on Netflix and "Manhunt: Unabomber" on Discovery.

It seems we're fascinated by forensic psychology, by criminal profiling, by... mindhunting.

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We had planned ("planned") to do a show today about how we're getting too familiar with our sinking feelings.

And then that Trump-Putin press conference happened.

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Federal regulatory requirements mandate* that all public media outlets occasionally devote significant airtime to the health and welfare of bees.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

They made a documentary about Mr. Rogers. Does The Nose really have a choice but to go see it? No. It does not. But then, it's "a vital doc," "a tearjerker with a purpose," and "the film we need right now" with "the hero 2018 needs." So we probably should've gone to see it regardless of whether the guy was a public broadcasting icon or not, no?

Believe it or not, Lorena and John Wayne Bobbitt (and their kitchen knife) entered the public consciousness 25 years ago last week.

And this week, former UConn athlete Sue Bird and her girlfriend, Megan Rapinoe, became the first same-sex couple to appear on the cover of ESPN The Magazine's The Body Issue.

Disney

There are three movies that deserve the credit (blame?) for the superhero/comic book movie renaissance/boom(/apocalypse?) that we've been living through now for nearly a decade and a half: Batman Begins (2005), Spider-Man 2 (2004), and Brad Bird's The Incredibles (2004).

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From his rapid-fire stand-up comedy riffs to his breakout role in Mork & Mindy and his Academy Award-winning performance in Good Will Hunting, Robin Williams was a singularly innovative and beloved entertainer. Dave Itzkoff's new biography is Robin.

And: For the tenth anniversary of his death, a look back at the work of George Carlin.

Chion Wolf / CT Public Radio

Ocean's 8 is about as 2010s a movie as there's ever been. It's a reboot sequel of a series that started with a remake. The fun part, though, is that this movie (unlike the four that precede it) stars eight women. And the even funner part is that it's the number one movie in the country. Our all-star, all-lady (plus Colin) Nose has thoughts.

Universal Pictures

The Fast and Furious franchise includes eight feature films and two short films, and it looks like it's about to include a series of spinoff films. It's Universal Pictures's highest-grossing film franchise with a combined box office of more than $5 billion.

Uhh, how did that happen?

Carlos Mejia / CT Public Radio

You probably know Larry Wilmore as the host of the Black on the Air podcast or of Comedy Central's The Nightly Show. Or maybe you know him as The Daily Show with Jon Stewart's Senior Black Correspondent. Or you could know Wilmore as the co-creator of Insecure and The Bernie Mac Show or as a writer on The Office and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and In Living Color.

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Kim Kardashian rose to fame as a friend of Paris Hilton. She has a sex tape. She's been the subject of any number of reality TV shows. Kardashian is, for many people, the very definition of "famous for being famous."

The Nose's charter includes a provision specifically requiring that we cover all things Kim Kardashian. But then, this week, we learned that she has the power to will presidential commutations into being. That's actually almost too much substance for The Nose to parse. Almost. But not quite.

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Mike Pesca is one of our very favorite guests -- on any number of topics. And he's got a new book out: Upon Further Review: The Greatest What-Ifs in Sports History.

Jonathan McNicol / WNPR

Who's afraid of the Bix bad Beiderbecke?

Hartford has an amazing jazz history, and Colin has a lot of jazz musician friends. This hour, a little onstage jazz party.

Colin and the panel look to make jazz accessible to mere mortals. They talk about what makes jazz jazz, invite the audience to sing, and teach the audience to scat.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Solo is the tenth feature-length, live-action Star Wars film. It is the fifth Star Wars prequel. It is the second Star Wars anthology film (following 2016's Rogue One), and it's the second Star Wars movie to come out in just the last six months (along with The Last Jedi).

It is, though, a number of Star Wars firsts too: It's the first Star Wars picture to have its director(s) fired midway through production. It's the first to star Woody Harrelson. It's the first Star Wars movie that may well lose money.

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We've been trying to push this show out for quite a while now. It's been a bit of a strain, and we got kind of backed up.

But, this hour, we let loose a long look at... constipation.

It should be a big relief for everyone involved.

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Numbers are so fundamental to our understanding of the world around us that we maybe tend to think of them as an intrinsic part of the world around us. But they aren't. Humans invented numbers just as much as we invented all of language.

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When I hear the word "diorama," the first thing I think of is Mr. Mack’s fifth grade class and painting hills and grass and clouds and a fence into a shoebox and making little cardboard cut outs of Lassie and the boy she loved. God, I hated that stuff.

The second thing I think of is a place like the Peabody Museum in New Haven and their incredibly, obsessively, over-the-toply detailed dioramas of the plant and wildlife of Connecticut.

YouTube Red Originals

You remember the dress, right? In case you don't: Three years ago, a poorly-lit photograph of a dress pretty much tore the internet to pieces. Some people saw a black-and-blue dress; some people saw a white-and-gold dress. The black-and-blue-dress people couldn't understand how the white-and-gold-dress people were living their lives; the white-and-gold-dress people called the black-and-blue-dress people "fake news" (no they didn't).

Well, this week there's a new the dress. Except it's a the dress for your ears, not your eyes. It's an audio file. Some people hear the word "laurel." Some people hear the non-word "yanny." And the dispute over which word is right and which word is wrong is very important (no it isn't).

Carlos Mejia / Connecticut Public Radio

Donald Glover can do anything. He's an actor and a comedian, he's a singer and a songwriter, he's a rapper and a DJ. Mainstream audiences know him from Community and maybe the FX series he created, Atlanta. Nerdy audiences know him as the voice of Spider-Man, and they're about to know him as a young Lando Calrissian.

But Glover's music -- he sings and raps as Childish Gambino and DJs as mcDJ -- has never quite punched through into the wider popular consciousness, despite some chart success. Until this week, maybe. The new Childish Gambino video, "This Is America," which dropped last Saturday in concert with Glover's hosting Saturday Night Live, has just about 75 million views on YouTube. It is "a milestone" and "a media phenomenon," and it has finally made Glover "a superstar."

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Lauren Bacall probably does have the most famous line about smoking in all of cinema. But there are other good ones too. "What are you gonna do? Charge me with smoking?" "Smoke if ya got 'em." And many more.

Cigarettes have been such an integral part of movies for so long that one big concern in the lead up to Disney and Fox's planned merger is -- seriously -- all the smoking in Fox movies.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

This week's Nose tackles Kanye's bromance with President Trump. And we've got an update on monkey selfies!

Plus: Courtney Balaker's Little Pink House, which opens today at Real Art Ways in Hartford, tells the story of Kelo v. City of New London. Catherine Keener plays Susette Kelo. There's an unnamed version of Governor John Rowland. Keith Kountz makes an appearance. The movie is kind of Erin Brockovich, but on the Connecticut Shoreline in the Late '90s/Early 2000s. The Nose has seen it.

Jonathan McNicol / WNPR

Matt Taibbi is an American journalist, author, and iconoclast. He is a contributor to Rolling Stone and the author of nine books, the most recent of which are Insane Clown President: Dispatches from the 2016 Circus and I Can't Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street.

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