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Netflix, Inc.

Elon Musk will host tomorrow night's Saturday Night Live. It is, if nothing else, an odd choice.

Speaking of choices, Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Best Sitcoms of All Time is out this week.

Finally, This Is a Robbery: The World's Biggest Art Heist is a four-part Netflix docuseries about the 1990 robbery of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. The burglary was the largest museum heist in history in terms of value (thought to be as much as $600 million) until 2019.

Courtesy Dr. Willard Wigan, MBE

This is the first installment of Audacious Little Things!

Meet an anthropologist who explains why she thinks the human animal delights in making miniatures of things, and then meet a sculpturist dubbed “The 8th Wonder of the World” whose art requires a microscope to see.

zenilorac / flickr creative commons

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.

This hour, we look at the anthropological, psychological, and linguistical ramifications of the concept of numbers.

And we look at one philosophical question too: Are numbers even real in the first place?

Trevor / flickr creative commons

As we were preparing for our show on underdogs, I kept saying that we shouldn't overlook the fact that, often, to be an underdog in the first place, you have to be relatively bad at the thing you’re an underdog about.

The more we talked about it, the more I found myself making the case that losers and losing are fascinating.

And they are. There's a whole podcast about political candidates who lost. We romanticize losers in movies and TV and songs and stories.

Legacy Theatre / Facebook

It was a silent movie theater, a factory that made women’s undergarments and the home of summer stock theater productions in the 1930s and ’40s. Now, after decades of neglect, a newly renovated building in Branford has begun a new chapter as the Legacy Theatre.

MARCO VERCH / flickr creative commons

Seriously: a show about towels.

There's the history of towels, towels in Christianity, Terrible Towels, Towel Day.

Oh, and there are actual towels too.

Because when has a bad idea ever stopped us before?

The Legacy Of Covid-19

Apr 26, 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. 

Sharon Mollerus / flickr creative commons

Hartford native Sol LeWitt was one of the giants of conceptualist and minimalist art.

As an artist, he abandoned the long histories of painting and drawing and sculpture in favor of his Wall Drawings and Structures.

And as an art figure, he abandoned the conventions of celebrity and resisted ever even having his picture taken.

This hour, a look at Connecticut's own Sol LeWitt.

Jill Snyder’s parents carried on a long-distance courtship through letters.

After her mother’s death, Snyder found these letters, and compiled them into a book, called Dear Mary, Dear Luther: A Courtship in Letters.

This hour, Snyder joins us to talk about her family’s story. It’s a lens into the lives of African Americans in the Northeast before the start of World War II.

Snyder tells us why it’s especially important for Black families to document their own family history.

THIERRY EHRMANN / flickr creative commons

Popeye. The World According to Garp. Good Morning, Vietnam. Dead Poets Society. Awakenings. The Fisher King. Aladdin. Mrs. Doubtfire. Jumanji. The Birdcage. Good Will Hunting. What Dreams May Come. One Hour Photo. Death to Smoochy. Insomnia. Night at the Museum.

And that's just a super-abbreviated version of Robin Williams's filmography. And it completely ignores his career as one of the all-time great standup comedians. And it ignores Mork & Mindy. And Comic Relief. And so much more.

This hour: A look at Robin Williams, who would've turned 70 this year.

Apex Photo Company / Wikimedia Commons

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."

PBS

At Connecticut Public, there's a smallish corner conference room thing that we think of as The Crying Room. I, personally, haven't ever seen anyone cry in there, but I've had my suspicions. In any case, where people go to cry is part of the essential geography of the modern office. On the other hand, do we even have offices anymore?

And: Hemingway is a three-part PBS documentary directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. It premiered this week, and all 5½ hours are streamable now.

Bill Ingalls / NASA

Astronaut Kayla Barron was one of the first women commissioned as a submarine warfare officer in the US Navy. Now, she’s part of another groundbreaking group, NASA’s Artemis Team.

This hour, we talk with Barron about her training for the next set of missions to return to the moon.  The Artemis Program aims to put the first woman on the moon in coming years.

Reprise Records

Joni Mitchell's album Blue turns 50 this year. It may not have the artistic sophistication of her later albums, but Mitchell's vulnerability endeared her to fans, if not early critics unused to such intimate storytelling. That was okay with Mitchell. She said her "music is not designed to grab instantly. It's designed to wear for a lifetime, to hold up like a fine cloth."

Jonathan McNicol / Connecticut Public Radio

Elvis left two legacies. Musically, he pulled several American musical traditions out of the shadows, braided them together, and made them mainstream. Personally, he created a far darker template for the way a musical celebrity could be devoured by the very fame he avidly sought.

Recorded live in front of an audience -- long before the pandemic hit -- as part of Colin's Freshly Squeezed series at Watkinson School, an hour about the artist who defined the birth of rock and roll and was the genre's first superstar.

CHRISTEL ØVERLAND PRETENI / flickr creative commons

humor = tragedy + time

OK, but then the logical next question is: How much time?

If it's OK, at this point, to joke about, say, The Spanish Inquisition... what about, for instance, the Holocaust? Or AIDS? September 11th? The #MeToo movement?

...Derek Chauvin?

Legendary / Warner Bros.

So celebrities and their giant water bottles: It's a thing, I guess. And then there's the ABC Carpet couches email thread. Plus: Netflix's dwindling, dying DVD library.

And then: Godzilla vs. Kong is the fourth movie in Legendary's MonsterVerse. It's a direct sequel to both Kong: Skull Island and Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), and it's the 12th King Kong movie and the 36th Godzilla movie, overall. Godzilla vs. Kong's theatrical opening (both internationally and domestically) has been the largest of any movie's during the pandemic.

Photo by Victoria Will, illustration by John Gibson

Hear about the 5000 year history of billboards, and meet the man behind the “I LOVE YOU JESUS” billboards on I-84 and I-91 here in Connecticut.  And hear about a technology that focuses the audio of a billboard directly to you and only you.  Plus, why one Baltimore resident chose to propose to his girlfriend with a billboard (and how it went).

Martha Hall Kelly

Connecticut resident Martha Hall Kelly is back with a new book, Sunflower Sisters. This hour, she joins us to talk about the third and final installment following Caroline Ferriday’s family. This book centers on three women during the Civil War; Georgeanna Woolsey, Jemma and Anne-May. 

 

Ella Grasso
From the 2019 Connecticut State Register and Manual

We look at the career of Ella Grasso. Known as the first woman in the country to be elected governor who did not follow her husband, and the person who led the state through the Blizzard of 1978.

She was also a state lawmaker, secretary of the state, and member of Congress from Connecticut, at a time when politics was mostly a man’s world.  

Jonathan McNicol / Connecticut Public Radio

For a period of about 50 years, many of America's top cartoonists and illustrators lived within a stone's throw of one another in the southwestern corner of Connecticut.

Comic strips and gag cartoons read by hundreds of millions were created in this tight-knit group -- Prince Valiant, Superman, Beetle Bailey, Hägar the Horrible, Hi and Lois, Nancy, The Wizard of Id, Family Circus... I could keep going.

This hour, a look at the funny pages, and at Connecticut's cartoon county.

Apple

As with all weeks, it's been a strange week.

First there were the Cinnamon Toast Crunch shrimp tails. And then an enormous container ship got stuck in the Suez Canal. And now there might be another toilet paper shortage. Which would be bad for the Amazon drivers who have to poop in their trucks.

Maybe it's been an especially strange week.

Angela N. / Flickr

This hour, how will we remember a year in this pandemic? Grief can often leave us feeling incredibly alone. Especially when haven't been able to gather and commemorate our loss. How will we memorialize the lives and time lost this year?

If you have spent anytime journaling, or reflecting on this year either alone or with family.

Leeber / flickr creative commons

On March 6, Lou Ottens died in Duizel in the Netherlands. He was 94. I don't think I had ever heard of Ottens before, but the news of his death quickly filled my social media feeds. Ottens, you see, invented the compact cassette in the 1960s.

There's a certain romance to the cassette tape, right? They're more fun than mp3s, for sure. And it turns out they're having a little mini resurgence right now.

Douglas Fernandes / Creative Commons

After a year of pandemic, we're all itching to break from the restrictions of the pandemic. We want to travel and explore. It makes sense; we're hard-wired to explore. Our ancestors would not have survived absent the drive to seek food and safety from the dangers of the day. Safe and satiated, they later sought new lands to conquer and later still, to escape the constraints and cruelties of rapid industrialization.

If the recent pandemic left you yearning to explore, you might be inspired by this show we first aired in 2017. 

Marcela McGreal / Wikimedia Commons

Last week's violence at three spas in Georgia, followed a year of escalating violence against Asian Americans, some of it captured on videos that went viral. Despite visual evidence, New Yorker writer Hua Hsu, writes that this current moment stresses the "in-between space Asian Americans inhabit." It's hard to prove bias when we lack a historical understanding of what Asian American racism looks like. 

Green Fuse Films Inc.

On the one hand, obituaries are an amalgam of a bunch of different kinds of journalism: they're feature stories, they're profile pieces, they cover history, and they're hard news too.

On the other hand, the subject is always... dead.

Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.

Jeopardy! has been part of the fabric of American TV, in a couple different forms and across a couple different breaks, since 1964. It is the longest-running nationally-televised game show in U.S. television history.

At the 2015 Emmys, John Oliver quipped, "The sun could burn out, humanity could flee to another galaxy, time as we know it could cease to exist, but Alex Trebek will still be there scolding librarians from Ames, Iowa, to answer in the form of a question."

Except, of course, Alex Trebek died last year. And before that, Jeopardy!'s long-time executive producer and its long-time contestant coordinator both left at the end of last season.

So what's in store for this quiz show institution?

Discovery Communications, LLC

Criminal Minds. Mindhunter and Manhunt. Cracker and Profiler. Nearly the whole of the Hannibal Lecter universe: Manhunter, The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal (the movie and the TV series), Red Dragon, and now Clarice.

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

This hour, we look at three different criminal profilers: James Brussel, the psychologist who helped catch the Mad Bomber of New York in 1957; James Fitzgerald, the forensic linguist who caught the Unabomber; and Bill James, the father of sabermetrics, turns his data analysis on a century-old serial killer mystery that no one had even realized was a serial killer mystery before he and his daughter figured it out.

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