The Colin McEnroe Show | Connecticut Public Radio
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The Colin McEnroe Show

Weekdays at 1:00 pm and 9:00 pm and Saturdays at noon

“The sublime and the ridiculous are often so nearly related, that it is difficult to class them separately.” — Thomas Paine

The Colin McEnroe Show endeavors to prove Paine correct, every weekday. While the topics are unpredictable from one day to the next (previous show topics include whistling, placebos, politics, the nature of divinity, Barbra Streisand, bedbugs, human hydration, dinosaurs, unreliable narrators, ugliness, and raccoons), what is always assured is that a thoughtful, smart, and interesting exploration and conversation with amazing guests will take place about something.

Colin McEnroe is an author, playwright, professor, columnist, and blogger, who is allergic to penicillin and enjoys photographing his dog wearing hats and publishing those photos to the internet.

While we are live, call us at 888-720-WNPR. That's 888-720-9677. 

You can email us anytime at colinshow@ctpublic.org. To reach us in the newsroom when we're not on air, call 860-275-7272.

Contact Colin McEnroe Show Producers:

The Senior Director is Catie Talarski. The Technical Producer is Cat Pastor.

Are you looking for our Radio for the Deaf broadcasts? Those are all collected under our very special, and, if you don't mind us saying so, very nice looking RFTD site.

Jonathan McNicol / Connecticut Public Radio

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 recorded in front of a live audience long before the pandemic put a pause on live audiences as a thing.

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.

Jim Henkens

We have a complicated relationship with our food. We need food to live; yet, we've become removed from the food we eat and how it's grown and processed.  Even with the best of intentions, today's ultra-processed foods make it hard for us to know exactly what we're eating or how the methods used to mass produce our food are affecting our environment and our health. And I haven't even touched on how food has led to war, famine, poverty, and enslavement.    

Alan Light / Creative Commons

Colin interviewed Hal Holbrook on February 3, 2015, in advance of Holbrook's performance of Mark Twain Tonight in Hartford on his 90th birthday on February 17, 2015. Colin wrote at the time that Holbrook was one of the most remarkable people he's encountered of all the remarkable people he's interviewed over the years.

Holbrook was so passionate and fun to speak with that Colin never got to ask him all the many questions about the love of his life, his difficult childhood, or his time spent at Suffield Academy. He hoped for a second interview.

Holbrook died on January 23. This hour, we reair our 2015 interview with him.

Paul Sableman / Creative Commons

Some say the press continues to portray the Republican Party as a "mainstream, center-right entity," long after their words and deeds reflect something more ominous. Is the media failing to convey the extreme behavior of the GOP out of fear they will be accused of liberal bias? It's not the first time the media has been accused of bias or been too slow to see something for what it is instead of what they want it to be.

Also this hour: Five members of former President Trump's impeachment team departed Saturday, a little over a week before the Senate trial is set to begin on February 9. On Sunday, Trump hired lawyers David Schoen and Bruce L. Castor Jr. to take over. Will they be ready by next week?

Vevo

Olivia Rodrigo's "drivers license" is in its second week as the No. 1 song in the country, having debuted there last week. It is the first debut single by any artist to hit the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 1 in history.

And: Pretend It's a City is Martin Scorsese's seven-part Netflix documentary series about Fran Liebowitz that's actually also kind of about New York City.

And finally: How To with John Wilson is John Wilson's six-part HBO documentary series of advice and tutorials that's actually also kind of about New York City.

Stewart Black / Creative Commons

Applications to nursing schools spiked during the pandemic from those who wanted to help. They chose to be nurses at a time when the risk to their own health was never greater. Why are some people willing to run toward the fire when others are running away from it?

Most of us fall somewhere on a spectrum of altruistic behavior. We might adopt a stray pet, donate a liter of blood, or check on an older neighbor. Others pursue a career based on helping others, and, at the extreme end of the spectrum, some choose to donate their kidney to a stranger. 

We talk to two nurses, a kidney donor, and a psychologist about the nature of altruism.

Janus Films

André Gregory has directed and acted in the theater for more than 50 years. He has appeared in a number of movies, including Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ, Woody Allen's Celebrity, Brian De Palma's The Bonfire of the Vanities, Peter Weir's The Mosquito Coast, and many more. He has starred in three movies about the theater with the playwright, actor, and comedian Wallace Shawn: A Master Builder, Vanya on 42nd Street, and the iconic My Dinner with Andre.

Gregory's memoir is This Is Not My Memoir. He joins us for the hour.

Nicolas Boullosa / Creative Commons

One of the few silver linings of the pandemic has been a resurgence of interest in motels and RV life from a diverse group of millennials who want safe and less expensive options to travel and work during a pandemic.

And motels and RV companies are trying to meet the demand with upgrades and amenities like flat-screen TVs, memory-foam mattresses, and free Wi-Fi.

Some are turning to RV life permanently to travel, live, and work from where they want instead of being tethered to a desk and real estate. The pandemic has shown us that millennials who have never known the security of stable jobs or home ownership feel more "at home" outside traditional places.

Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Carlos M. Vazquez II / Joint Chiefs of Staff

Moderna announced today they were making new versions of their vaccine that can be used as boosters against variants seen in South Africa, Brazil, and the U.K. The vaccine should be effective against variants but it seems to create fewer antibodies against the one that has emerged in South Africa. Either way, vaccines alone will not be enough. We talk about mutations and vaccines. 

Also this hour: The Biden inauguration was the most Catholic inauguration in history. Is a more liberal Christianity on the rise? 

Lastly, a tribute to John McDonough, actor, singer, and a Connecticut native.

The House will transmit its Article of Impeachment charging former President Trump with "incitement of insurrection" to the Senate on Monday.

Gregg Richards

Most of the Western world is organized by alphabetical order, which is so much more than the 26 letters that make up the alphabet. Alphabetical order is an organizing principle that allows us to save, order, and access thousands of years of humankind's most precious documents and ideas. Without it, we'd never know what came before us or how to pass on what's with us. It's ubiquitous, yet invisible in daily life.

This hour, a conversation about how we order our world and why we do it. 

The Legacy Of COVID-19

Jan 19, 2021
Alyssa L. Miller / Creative Commons

Yale University's Dr. Nicholas Christakis explores what it means to live in a time of pandemic. He looks at historical epidemics and current medical and social research to help us understand the potential long-term impact COVID-19 will have on people and culture. 

Greek mythology holds that the arrows of plague Apollo shot down upon the Greeks led to great death and suffering. The plague that has brought death and pain over this past year was not brought by an angry god, but an infinitesimal virus that has wreaked global havoc and exposed the best and worst of human behavior. 

We spend an informative and insightful hour with Nicholas Christakis. 

Netflix, Inc.

Tom Cruise's seventh Mission: Impossible installment has been one of the few huge Hollywood productions trying to to figure out how to film during the pandemic. Cruise has been in the news lately for blowing up at his crew for breaking COVID protocols, and now he's back in the news for… buying COVID enforcement robots?

And: Could front porches be just the right "magical intermediate zone" to keep communities connecting during a time of social distancing?

And finally: Nicolas Cage is hosting a documentary series on Netflix called History of Swear Words. Normally I'd try to give you a little more context here, but I feel like that first sentence pretty much covers it.

Previously on Pardon Me (Another Damn Impeachment Show?): House Democrats voted to impeach President Trump on two Articles of Impeachment: "abuse of power" and "obstruction of Congress." He was later acquitted promptly after Senate Republicans voted against calling witnesses or admitting new evidence.

Now (less than 48 weeks later), on Season Two of Pardon Me: House Democrats, along with 10 Republicans, voted to impeach President Trump Wednesday on one Article of Impeachment: "incitement of insurrection." Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., promptly responded that there'll be no trial while he's Senate leader.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Kate Hartman / Interactive Telecommunications Program, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University

Do you talk to yourself? Is it a silent inter-narrative or do you talk aloud? What form of address to you use to yourself?

When I'm mad at myself I sometimes address myself as Colin. But, I sense that when LeBron speaks to himself as LeBron, it's more affirming. 

I talk aloud quite a bit. A hangover, I think, from growing up as an only child.

Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday's insurrection by Trump supporters at the Capitol was the culmination of months of Trump perpetuating the lie that the election was stolen from him. The fire he built might have sputtered without oxygen from Republican colleagues and right-wing media intent on capitalizing on his lies.

House Democrats introduced an article of impeachment Monday. It charges President Trump with "inciting violence against the government of the United States," after House Republicans objected to a resolution calling on Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment. The House will consider the impeachment resolution on the floor if the vice president refuses to intervene "within 24 hours" or if the president refuses to resign.

Netflix, Inc.

Last weekend, a little girl asked her father for help opening a can of beans. Rather than help her, Bean Dad left his daughter to figure it out for herself. For six hours (supposedly). And tweeted about it. It was peak internet.

Also: This will come as a shock (it probably won't), but Kim Kardashian is rumored to be divorcing Kanye West. Or she's rumored to be about to be divorcing Kanye West. Or she's rumored to be considering divorcing Kanye West. Or something.

And finally: Bridgerton is a period drama series on Netflix produced by Shonda Rhimes. It's set in Regency London during "the social season," and you're either super interested in a show with that premise or you aren't.

Stephanie Clifford / Creative Commons

President Trump has gotten away with bad behavior since long before he was elected to the presidency. When faced with an election loss that he couldn't change, he instigated his followers to fight for him. They obeyed his command. He may not be able to get out of the consequences of the actions they took on his behalf. 

matt / flickr creative commons

As our show starts today, the U.S. Congress will begin the process of officially tallying the Electoral College votes in the 2020 elections for president and vice president.

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris received 306 votes, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence received 232 votes, and this should be a pretty pro forma exercise.

Should be. Instead, scores of congressional Republicans are expected to object to the certified votes from a number of swing states. The president thinks the vice president has the power to pick and choose which votes to count. The vice president reportedly disagrees. In any case, the objections are expected to gum up the works -- probably for hours.

Johannes Gärtner / flickr creative commons

Nietzsche called Richard Wagner "a volcanic eruption of the total undivided artistic capacity of nature itself," and Thomas Mann said he was "probably the greatest talent in the entire history of art."

More than a thousand movies have Wagner on their soundtracks, including classic scenes from Apocalypse Now, The Blues Brothers, Bugs Bunny cartoons, and Charlie Chaplin.

But, there's a reason Woody Allen says too much of Wagner's music gives him "the urge to conquer Poland." Wagner is nothing if not a problematic figure. As the new book Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music puts it, "An artist who might have rivaled Shakespeare in universal reach is undone by an ideology of hate."

DonkeyHotey / Creative Commons

Sachitha Obeysekara / flickr creative commons

To round out the year, we round up the best jazz of the year. We've done this every year for at least the last seven years.

Marc Tavernier / flickr creative commons

2020 was ... not great.

But, from a pop culture point of view, it wasn't so bad either. I mean, we got the Hamilton movie, The Queen's Gambit, the final season of Schitt's Creek, David Byrne's American Utopia, the Borat sequel, "WAP," I May Destroy You, Tiger King, two new Taylor Swift albums, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom...

The list goes on.

This hour, The Nose looks back at the year in pop culture that was 2020.

Beth Beverly / Diamond Tooth Taxidermy

When you think of taxidermy, you may imagine a trophy room in which mostly male hunters have mounted the heads of 12-point stags along wood-paneled walls. If so, your image would be incomplete.

Taxidermy has gone through many iterations since gentleman scientists turned to taxidermy to understand anatomy during the Enlightenment. Victorians added a touch of whimsy, decorating their homes with birds under glass and falling in love with Walter Potter's anthropomorphized cats.

The Battle For Butter

Dec 27, 2020
Creative Commons

We tend not to think much about that pat of butter we put on our morning toast, including how the store-bought sweet cream butter we're eating likely pales in comparison to the rich, nutty flavor of  the cultured butter not found in many stores.

Chion Wolf (file photo) / Connecticut Public Radio

Toward the end of every year since 2014, we've picked a day and put "Big Al" Anderson, Jim Chapdelaine, and Colin in a room together, sung some songs, told some stories, and wound up with some sort of a holiday special.

The "in a room together" part of that is essential… and just not going to happen in 2020.

So, in lieu of doing a new show with Al and Jim, this year we've gone through all six of the previous shows we've done and pulled out some of the best songs -- 11 of them, no less -- and some of the best guest appearances and some of the other best bits and bobs and we've added a brand-new version of an age-old Big Al song that Al and Jim sent along special. And we've wound up with this sort of best-of edition of our annual holiday spectacular.

Netflix, Inc.

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom is George C. Wolfe's film adaptation of the August Wilson play. It stars Viola Davis in the title role and Chadwick Boseman in his final film performance, and it's available to stream on Netflix.

Christopher Nolan's Tenet was the first tentpole movie to be released in theaters during the pandemic. It did okay business (it's currently the third-highest grossing film of 2020), but nothing like what Warner Bros. would've hoped for in a normal time. It's still in theaters, and it's now available to buy on physical disc or from digital platforms. It will be available to rent digitally in January.

Blogtrepreneur / Creative Commons

It could be months or years before the US government knows the full extent of last week's sophisticated cyberattack that targeted private tech and security companies and federal agencies like the Energy Department and National Nuclear Security Administration.

President Trump dismissed the significance of the attack, tweeting that "everything was under control." He refused to criticize Russia for the attack, claimed without evidence that it could be China, and contradicted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's acknowledgement of Russian involvement. Yet, the President continues to fight the election results and has considered declaring martial law to overturn the election.  

We Like To Watch

Dec 18, 2020
Robert Couse-Baker / flickr creative commons

For decades, we didn't take television seriously. We saw it as ephemeral, as "chewing gum for the eyes," as, literally, furniture.

And then, around the turn of the century, things started to change. There was The Sopranos. The Wire. And, at the same time, shows like Big Brother and The Amazing Race. For Emily Nussbaum, it was Buffy the Vampire Slayer that forever changed her take on television.

This hour: A serious appraisal of television with The New Yorker's television critic.

Avis Charley / Avis Charley Art

Native Americans exerted their political power in the 2020 election. A record-breaking six Native-Americans were elected to Congress and Native American votes tipped the scales in Arizona - which went blue for only the second time in seventy years. And U.S. Representative Deb Haaland (D-NM) is on President-elect Biden's short list to be Secretary of the Interior. 

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