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Do you know how to make an Election Cake? What about the history of the Connecticut Witch Hunters

This hour, state historian Walt Woodward joins us to talk about his new book Creating Connecticut: Critical Moments That Shaped a Great State and answer all your questions about the Nutmeg state, starting with why do we call Connecticut the Nutmeg State? 

Universal Pictures

The raft of renaming going on right now obviously hasn't spared popular culture. The Dixie Chicks and Lady Antebellum are now The Chicks and Lady A, respectively. Björk's record label changed its name. Democrats want to rename John Wayne Airport. FedEx has formally asked the Washington Redskins to change their name, and Guilford's board of education voted to drop the town's "Indians" nickname. And, while Splash Mountain is going to keep being called Splash Mountain, it won't be based on Song of the South anymore.

And: The King of Staten Island is the sixth feature film directed by Judd Apatow. It stars Pete Davidson (who also co-wrote the movie with Apatow and Dave Sirus) as a 24-year-old high school dropout who lives with his mother on Staten Island. It's available for rental on digital platforms.

images of Giant ground sloth (Megatherium americanum), Moa (Megalapteryx didinus), Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus)
Ballista, George Edward Lodge, Michael L. Baird / Wikimedia Commons

What would it have been like to see a huge, elephant-like mastodon roaming our state? 

The earth has been home to some spectacularly large animals. A few of them still roam or swim our world today.

This hour, we take a look at the biology of these giants. 

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Bill Murray, Eddie Murphy, Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, John Belushi, John Candy, Rick Moranis.

Animal House, The Blues Brothers, Beverly Hills Cop, Caddyshack, The Jerk, Ghost Busters, ¡Three Amigos!, Funny Farm, Spaceballs, Stripes.

We maybe didn't properly appreciate it at the time, but the 1980s were one of the most fertile periods ever for screen comedies and screen comedians.

This hour, a look at the mavericks who shaped a whole comedy aesthetic and at some of the most popular movie comedies ever made.

Ray Hardman / Connecticut Public Radio

Lake Compounce bills itself as “the oldest continuously operating amusement park in North America,” but COVID-19 threatened to end that 174-year streak.

Now, with clearance from the governor’s office, the Bristol amusement park is ready to open, but there will be some notable changes to ensure the safety of guests and staff.

Members of Students for a Democratic Society stage demonstrations New Haven Green near area where huge rally was being held by Black Panthers and supporters, May 1, 1970. Panthers were protesting the jailing of eight of their group in New Haven.
AP

On May 1st, 1970, the eyes of the nation were on the Elm City. Students and others from around the country had gathered to protest the murder trial of Black Panther Party leaders Bobby Seale and Ericka Huggins.

This hour, we take a look back at May Day in New Haven, 50 years ago this year. We talk with Huggins and hear from a former Baltimore mayor who was one of the Yale students who helped keep protests peaceful.

Do you remember May Day and New Haven’s Black Panther Trials?

National Museum of Health and Medicine / Creative Commons

You’ve probably heard the old phrase, “Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.” One has to wonder whether that dynamic is playing out in this time of pandemic and racial unrest -- specifically in regard to the quadruple tumult at the beginning of the last century, of war, pandemic, racial unrest and recession. 

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 is scheduled to come out this year or that the Hamilton movie comes out next week.

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

Rhode Island Public Radio

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo announced Monday that the words “Providence Plantations” will be removed from state websites, pay stubs and gubernatorial communications as part of a broader effort to establish a more equitable state.

Suzanne Proulx / http://www.suzanneproulx.com

Dust is a fascinating substance. Our bodies are always shedding dust from our skin, hair, and nails, leaving little bits of DNA wherever we roam. Dust floats unseen through the air around us. It's light. It's hard to see unless it lands on a contrasting surface or crosses the path of a ray of sunshine. It can travel far and wide.  

A runaway slave ad from 1785 in the Connecticut Courant, now the Hartford Courant
Hartford Courant archives / Proquest

Today is Juneteenth, a holiday that marks the day that slavery finally ended in Texas -- two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

We don’t often think of Connecticut as a slave state and often celebrate the role of Connecticut’s abolitionists. Yet American slavery was not just confined to the South.

There were an estimated 5,100 enslaved people who lived and worked right here in Connecticut. 

Hernán Piñera / flickr creative commons

We've done this show every year since 2013. We almost certainly didn't do it 2012. But we did in 2011. And there's good circumstantial evidence that we did it in 2010 too, but no actual record of that possibly inaugural episode survives.

Point is: Our song of the summer show is a bit of a tradition. It's a tradition that... makes some people angry, we realize. It's a tradition that we're not sure has ever made anyone happy.

And that all has to do with how we define the term. We use the Amanda Dobbins definition:

Miramax, LLC

No Country for Old Men. Fargo. The Big Lebowski. Raising Arizona. Barton Fink. Miller's Crossing. Blood Simple. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.

Over the past 36 years, Joel and Ethan Coen have reliably been among the most recognizable voices in moviemaking.

This hour: a Noseish look at the work of the Coen brothers.

For nearly 200 years, the term “female husband” was used to describe an individual assigned female at birth who chose to live fully as a man.

Historian Jen Manion, a professor at Amherst College in Massachusetts, said from the 1700s to early 1900s, the British and American press wrote about "female husbands" in a mostly salacious and sensationalized way. And when their assigned gender was revealed, they were usually detained by police and run out of town.

This is the ninth and final episode of US in the Time of Coronavirus.

We’ve surpassed 100,000 deaths in our country, and more than 3,826 deaths here in Connecticut as of Friday, May 20th. These numbers aren’t just numbers. They’re mothers, daughters, sisters, fathers, brothers and sons; Grandmas and grandpas, and best friends.

Max Pixel

While swimming is a popular pastime for many Americans, a history of discrimination at pools nationwide in the 20th century has led to startling racial disparities in swimming abilities. A 2017 USA Swimming Foundation report found more than 6 in 10 African American children have low to no swimming skills.

And that has deadly consequences: Black and Latino children are statistically much more likely to drown than their white peers.

This hour, we hear from a historian about how we got to this point.

Photograph by Stephen West, originally published in Yale Alumni Magazine. / Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library

On May 1, 1970, tens of thousands of protesters gathered on the New Haven Green and the campus of Yale University. They came in support of Black Panther Party leaders Bobby Seale and Ericka Huggins, who were on trial in New Haven for the murder of a fellow Black Panther, even though several other Panthers had already pleaded guilty to the murder.

Chion Wolf (file photo) / Connecticut Public Radio

It's Friday, but our pop culture roundtable is off this week.

Today, in lieu of The Nose, an hour with America's Greatest Living Film Critic, David Edelstein.

Budapest Operetta Theatre / Bartók Plusz Opera Festival

What we’ve all been through in this pandemic has sparked renewed interest in the work of 19th-century physician Ignaz Semmelweis. He is considered to be the first person to find a correlation between hand-washing and disease prevention.

Semmelweis’ discovery was the subject of a recent Google “doodle.” It’s also the basis of a 2018 chamber opera, which is currently streaming online.

GIUSEPPE MILO / flickr creative commons

Nyctophiliacs rejoice! The color you know and love (black) is now blacker than ever before. And never mind that black is not technically a color. The point is that as you were traipsing through graveyards and reveling under the night sky, scientists were busy inventing two new shades which are so dark they'd make Wednesday Adams reach for a flashlight.

Netflix, Inc.

Twitter announced on Tuesday that its employees who can work from home can continue to work from home -- for forever, if they want. One wonders how many companies will follow suit -- and how employees will feel about such an arrangement.

And: Ryan Murphy is the showrunner behind things like Nip/Tuck, Glee, American Horror Story, 9-1-1, and The Politician. In 2018, Murphy signed the largest development deal in the history of television with Netflix. His new miniseries, Hollywood, is the second project to come out of that deal.

Members of Students for a Democratic Society stage demonstrations New Haven Green near area where huge rally was being held by Black Panthers and supporters, May 1, 1970. Panthers were protesting the jailing of eight of their group in New Haven.
AP

On May 1st, 1970, the eyes of the nation were on the Elm City. Students and others from around the country had gathered to protest the murder trial of Black Panther Party leaders Bobby Seale and Ericka Huggins.

This hour, we take a look back at May Day in New Haven, 50 years ago. We talk with Huggins and hear from a former Baltimore mayor who was one of the Yale students who helped keep protests peaceful.

Do you remember May Day and New Haven’s Black Panther Trials?

Netflix, Inc.

23 Hours To Kill is Jerry Seinfeld's fourth-ever standup comedy special and his second for Netflix. It hit the streaming service on Tuesday, and The Nose thinks it's great. And also that it sucks.

And then: Waco is a six-part miniseries that tells exactly the story you'd guess it tells. Taylor Kitsch plays David Koresh. Waco was the big, original launch title for the Paramount Network when it rebranded from SpikeTV in January, 2018. So why is it relevant now? One wonders, but it was recently added to Netflix, and it's been trending there for weeks.

Mystic Seaport
Mystic Seaport / Facebook

Gov. Ned Lamont’s strategy to open certain businesses on May 20 is welcome news to the Mystic Seaport Museum.

The maritime museum closed its doors March 13, and made the tough decision to layoff  most of its staff on April 1st. But at Thursday’s coronavirus briefing, Lamont listed outdoor museums as being the first type of business that could reopen on May 20.

Pixabay

Deaths related to alcohol have been rising over the past two decades, especially among women.  Today, we look at the impact of alcohol on public health.

Wikimedia Commons

In March, President Trump blamed our global pandemic on China. When that didn't work, he blamed the World Health Organization (WHO) for not responding quickly enough to the virus. When that didn't work, he blamed governors for not getting their own supplies. Now, he says immigrants will take away American jobs.

The Bible defines a scapegoat as one of two kid goats. One goat was sacrificed and the living “scapegoat” was supposed to absorb the sins of the community and carry them into the wilderness. Is that what's happening here? Are the president's scapegoats supposed to carry away the sins of Mr. Trump?

Netflix

That headline is just a direct quote from James Poniewozik's Audience of One: Donald Trump, Television, and the Fracturing of America. I was torn between that line from the book and this one:

Donald Trump is not a person.

Poniewozik's take is that "Donald Trump" is really a character that Donald Trump has been playing on television since at least the early 1980s.

Renty – an enslaved man whose photograph was commissioned by Harvard professor Louis Agassiz in 1850.
Courtesy of the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University

Norwich, CT resident Tamara Lanier believes she is the descendant of two enslaved people—Renty and his daughter, Delia. They were photographed in 1850 for Harvard professor Louis Agassiz, as part of his research to advance the racist theory that Africans had different origins from Europeans. Lanier wants those early photographs, and has sued Harvard for “wrongful seizure, possession and expropriation” of them. 

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.

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