Patrick Skahill | Connecticut Public Radio
WNPR

Patrick Skahill

Reporter

Patrick Skahill is a reporter at WNPR. He covers science with an emphasis on health care and the environment. Prior to becoming a reporter, he was the founding producer of WNPR's The Colin McEnroe Show, which began in 2009 and won a PRNDI award in 2011. 

He writes about science for The Beaker. 

Patrick's reporting has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, Here & Now, and All Things Considered. He has also reported for the Marketplace Morning Report. 

A graduate of Villanova University, Patrick holds a bachelor's degree in history with a concentration in Arab & Islamic Studies and a minor in Classical Studies. He holds a master's degree in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago. He knows way too much about Seinfeld.

He can be reached by phone at 860-275-7297 or by email: pskahill@wnpr.org.

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Consumer activism is older than the nation. The colonists’ rejection of British imports started a tradition of voting with your knife, fork, teacup and credit card. But it’s complicated! Whole Foods isn’t perfect. And maybe you should reward Wal-Mart for at least trying to improve.

Flickr Creative Commons, janie.hernandez55

At the heart of a new Frontline documentary is a simple question - does playing football expose you to life-threatening brain damage?

It's a question putting America's most popular sport on notice - raising concerns for moms, players' wives, and all of us who love football. Today we talk with Jim Gilmore, producer for Frontline's new documentary "A League of Denial: The NFL's Concussion Crisis."

Michael Childers

Fear of Flying sold 18 million copies worldwide and helped tip feminism into a new focus on fulfilled sexuality. But it also introduced a meme so pervasive that the book's author, Erica Jong, worried the phrase "zipless f--k" would appear on her tombstone.

Jong recenly defined the phrase on NPR's Weekend Edition:

Chion Wolf

As Slate embarks on a quixotic search for the "most beautiful woman in the world," The Nose will examine how feminine beauty plays a role in American politics. Earlier this week, a U.S. Representative from Indiana dissed a CNN anchor saying, "You're beautiful, but you have to be honest."

Discovery Channel

"Reality TV" is perhaps the biggest misnomer in the entertainment industry today. A better name would probably be "scripted unscripted television." It's not catchy, but at least it's accurate.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

David Wolman visited a Scottish castle designed for left-handed sword fights, and a Paris museum to inspect 19th century brains. He observed chimps with a primatologist who may help unravel the mysteries of handedness. He met with a left-handed satanist, an amputee whose left hand was reattached to his right arm. He's part of a left-handed episode of The Colin McEnroe Show

http://hannibalburess.com/

Standup is not an easy thing to do. You might think you're funny, but funny takes on a new definition when you're stranded on stage with just a microphone, a spotlight, and a judgmental audience. Today we talked comedy with Jason Zinoman, first-ever comedy critic for The New York Times. While researching the show, I watched a lot of comedy (what a job I have!) so I thought it would be fun to provide you with a sampling of a few of my favorite performers. Caution: some of these sketches may contain NSFW language so, you know, don't blast it at your desk.

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You could say that most of the live comedy done by young performers in cities around the United States is just one big feeder system for Saturday Night Live, which launched a new season this weekend.

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What can a sandwich say about a relationship? It turns out, a lot. What very well may have been an inside joke between a young couple turned into a controversial essay by New York Post writer Stephanie Smith this week. 

Smith's tips on wooing her man via meat and bread featured such gems as:

Chion Wolf

As a shot in the dark, this week I asked my rather large Facebook audience whether any of them were lapsed Catholics thinking about tiptoeing back to the church based on the recent comments of Pope Francis, who talked about rebalancing the church's priorities with possibly less emphasis on what he called an obsession with abortion, contraception and same-sex marriage.

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Spoiler! The answer's not infinity plus one. Heck, it's not even infinity times infinity. (Yes, I'm sad to say that ad with the guy in the suit sitting with the kids is lying to you.) 

Chion Wolf

New Havenites reclaiming a beautiful park in their city got us thinking about urban parks in general. Frederick Law Olmsted is the undisputed father of American city parks, including Central Park itself. He came from Hartford, and he is buried here.

ckroberts61 on Flickr Creative Commons

We first got interested in the people inside sports team mascots back in 2010 but that was before we knew about Kelly Frank

Kelly Frank has done time inside several major league mascot costumes and she's a very funny human being with a lot of stories to tell about the abuse heaped on mascots-- as you're about to discover. 

Rainbow Lyf / Creative Commons

Infinity is weird. It's neither even nor odd. It's not a number. Really, it's just a concept we use to summarize that which we can't understand.

Chion Wolf

He's widely recognized as Alcide from HBO's 'True Blood,' but did you know Joe Manganiello is a classically-trained actor who graduated from Carnegie Mellon? Or that he inhabited the role of Stanley Kowalski from Tennessee Williams' iconic 1947 play "A Streetcar Named Desire," multiple times before landing his gig as a tall, brown-eyed lupine?

Chion Wolf

It just goes on and on. We're in New Haven today where the Yale Rep is getting ready to mount a production of "A Streetcar Named Desire," but there's already one playing in Dublin at the Gate. There probably hasn't been one year in the last 50 when there wasn't a significant staging of this play.

Chion Wolf

"This is worse than that time we did that Gilbert and Sullivan parody.” That was a Tina Fey line from 30 Rock, and it was a devastating punch at a similar show, Aaron Sorkin's "Studio 60," in which a fictional late night comedy show attempted to wow its audience with a song about itself set to the music of "A Modern Major General." 

Chion Wolf

This week's New York City primaries featured a an intern-groper, a Scrabble harasser, a hooker user and, of course, a Weiner tweeter. And guess what? All of them lost!   

And a continent away, the Filner Headlocker got out of the mayor's office too.

So does that mean that pervy politicians are experiencing a temporary lull? We talk about that  on The Nose, our weekly culture roundtable.

Chion Wolf

You may eat out a lot, but do you really have tipping figured out?

Or do you stress about whether you left the right amount?

Would you be happier with an 18 percent service charge added on and no obligation to tip?

These are the shifting restaurant rules we'll talk about today.

Chion Wolf

A roommate will  either get on your last nerve or change your life for the better. In my freshman year, I was assigned to live with two football players, one of whom dropped out at Christmas. I roomed with the other, Ken Jennings, for three years. He was African-American, from right outside D.C. and much more of a straight arrow than I was in those days. 

Chion Wolf

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 explored the idea that some people have no sexual orientation -- not because of a hormonal deficiency or a position on the autism spectrum or some buried childhood sexual trauma -- but because they don't have a discernable sex drive.

Chion Wolf

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 Smoking." 

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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 women and girls. Pynchon had a pattern -- somehow linked to inability to form normal alliances --  of hijacking the wives and partners of his friends.

Chion Wolf

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 experience with the audience here and create a national stir by his refusal to perform for them.

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I'll be the first to admit it: I've said, 'disco sucks.' The music is cheesy, the outfits tacky, and, before last week, when you'd say 'disco,' my mind immediately leapt to the lovable joke that is Disco Stu, a Simpsons character perpetually living in 1976.

But that's what I thought before researching today's Colin McEnroe Show. For starters, disco's influence on music was huge. Groups like Chic, Kool & The Gang, and MFSB employed sweeping orchestral instrumentation, protest lyrics, and heavy bass grooves - things that would all later carry over to rap, funk, and modern electronic dance music. 

Flickr Creative Commons, kodomut

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 mixed in the early downtown clubs.

Flickr Creative Commons, mr bolonga

Eels are hailed as monster-seducers by New Zealand's Maori and are the only fish that spawn in the middle of the ocean, but spend their lives in freshwater. Chad Johnson uses them to get the ladies. They've inspired Internet memes. And in Maine, where eels sell for upwards of $2,000 per pound, this misunderstood fish is providing a modern gold rush for struggling fisherman.

The New Middle Age

Aug 21, 2013

They were gutted by the economy, saddled with existential angst, and on today's Colin McEnroe Show, a few Generation Xers tweeted us about what it's like to live in a world inherited from the Baby Boomers. Our idea to dedicate a whole show to Generation X started with a great article. (Wasn't Matt Dillon's hair delightful?)

While you probably never give a second thought to the clippings scattered about when you get a haircut, Philip Musica turned this trash into cash. Millions of dollars of cash. 

Earlier this week, former World Time Trial Champion Emma Pooley (who won a silver medal in 2008) explained why the women's Tour de France failed on the BBC Radio 4 show, Woman's Hour.

"There used to be the 'Tour de France Feminin' in the 1980s that was two weeks long, with proper mountain stages, but it eventually fizzled out because of a lack of sponsorship," said Ms. Pooley.

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