history | Connecticut Public Radio
WNPR

history

A24 Films

Greta Gerwig's solo directorial debut, Lady Bird, is a coming-of-age comedy/drama that stars Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, and Lucas Hedges. Oh, and it's currently at 99% on the Tomatometer. So here's the question: Can a movie that's at 99% on the Tomatometer really ever be anything other than a letdown?

And then: Is the English translation of the Lord's Prayer actually a mistranslation? The Pope thinks it might be.

arinahabich/iStock / Thinkstock

It’s the holiday season -- the perfect time to kick back and get lost in a new podcast... or two... or three... or four. But how do you decide what to listen to?

The Battle For Butter

Dec 19, 2017
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.

Evan Kalish / Postlandia

When Alexis de Tocqueville toured America in the early 1830's to gather observations that he would later put on the pages of Democracy in America, he was impressed with the efficiency of our American Postal Service.

trialsanderrors / flickr

Few things evoke such antipathy and condemnation from the western world than the idea of children toiling away for low pay in dangerous conditions. And while there are cases of child labor which truly warrant our concern, the broader truth is a bit more complicated.

Mmmm, Donuts

Dec 7, 2017
Gabriel Kronisch / Creative Commons

My mom would take me and my brothers to the beach on summer days when I was a little kid. I couldn't yet swim but I could stand in Long Island Sound when the tide was low and my brothers were close enough to save me if I fell. I loved it. On the way home, we'd pile into the back of our station wagon, roll down the windows and stop at the donut shop for a dozen sugar-coated jelly donuts.  We'd eat them with our heads out the window and I'd end up with my hair stuck in the jelly on my face by the time I got home. Mmmm donuts.

Princeton University Office of Communications

John McPhee is a writer's writer. He's thought of as one of the progenitors of the New Journalism, of creative nonfiction or narrative nonfiction, along with people like Gay Talese and Tom Wolfe and Hunter S. Thompson. But his style is... quiter than those folks'. His writing is transparent. He tends to keep himself out of the narrative. He doesn't even, in fact, have an author photo.

Carmen Baskauf

Thursday, November 30 marks the final day of Native American Heritage Month.

Coming up, we honor the occasion with a tour of the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center -- a 300,000-plus-square-foot facility in Southeast Connecticut.

There, we wind our way through vivid displays of Native American history and culture.

What makes these exhibitions so critical today? 

Phil Guest / flickr creative commons

The bands Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd, Jethro Tull, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Rush, Asia, and Styx have sold, literally, hundreds of millions of albums.

And that's despite the fact that This Is Spinal Tap is a devastatingly accurate spoofing of, ya know... all those bands.

This hour: a look at the rise and fall of progressive rock.

A Tougher 21st Century Elm Makes A Comeback

Nov 28, 2017

There are thousands of Elm Streets in America, but not many surviving elms, for which the streets were named. Starting in the mid-20th century, Dutch elm disease killed off millions.

AK Rockefeller / flickr creative commons

Mistrust of the government's version of the facts... Paranoid conspiracy theories... Allegations of treason... Distrust of American institutions... Controversial governmental investigations...

You might say that America's modern era started 54 years ago today in Dallas.

Tanel Teemusk / flickr creative commons

It's been a crazy week. (Of course, they're all crazy weeks.) As such, this week's crazy Nose tries to rapid-fire its way through as many crazy topics as possible in its crazy 49 minutes.

Some of the crazy possibilities:

Willie Stark / Creative Commons

I have traveled to three foreign countries since President Trump was elected. While I have always been proud to be American, even as I criticize much in my country, I was humbled by what people thought of America in the countries I visited. They were puzzled by our health care system, and appalled by our guns and voter apathy. 

C Watts / flickr creative commons

In 1959, Soviet geneticist Dmitri Belyaev started an ambitious experiment to study the origins of domestication -- he would attempt to breed domesticated wild foxes by selecting on their behavior alone, a process he imagined our ancestors carried out with dogs thousands of years before.

Cheburashkina_Svetlana / Flickr Creative Commons

This year marks an important milestone in Russian history -- the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Russian Revolution.

Carol Rosegg / Westport Country Playhouse

This Sunday, The Westport Country Playhouse will bring together a panel of directors well-known for their productions of the plays of Shakespeare. The discussion will focus on how to bring the bard's words to life in the 21st century.

Marvel

Thor: Ragnarok came out last weekend, and so this week The Nose celebrates with an old-fashioned, star-studded holiday special.

There will be the singing of Ragnarök carols, there will be the imbibing of Ragnarök punch, there will be the exchanging of Ragnarök gifts.

...Or something.

fldber / flickr

You're going to die. It's OK, so will I. In fact, everyone will. And so with that said the conversation turns to how we wish to go. For over a century the answer to that question has usually involved your loved ones paying large sums for a box and a plot.

Where's The Beef!??

Nov 8, 2017
Chris Prosperi / Chef, Metro Bis

The veggie burger is  enjoying a renaissance! They've been in America since the Kellogg Brothers first fed their soy-based burger to guests at their Battle Creek Sanitarium in the 19th century, but they've never been as popular as with the newest iteration: a genetically engineered plant-based burger that tastes, smells, and looks just like - meat. It even drips blood.   

bluesbby / Creative Commons

President Trump wants to "Make America Great Again," by turning back the clock to a time he believes was safer, purer, and removed from the dangers of modern society.

He's not the first president to evoke nostalgia for the Rockwellian image of small town life where everyone knew one another, had a good job, and raised a family. The mental scene may vary but the nostalgia for something lost remains constant.

NASA/Crew of STS-129

The International Space Station is the most expensive thing ever built. It's about the size of a football field, it weighs a million pounds, and it's up there flying around in the sky at 17,000 mph, but... we don't really ever hear much about it, do we?

Well, so, this hour we hear about it.

A figure of Sam Colt as a boy sits in front of the statue of Colt in his prime.
Sam Hockaday / CPBN

When I moved to Hartford from Windsor four years ago, I was excited: a new place, new people, new stories. But as time went on I got bored with Hartford. Our city slogan is “Hartford Has It.” My friends and I would make fun of it, because there are times where it seems our city has nothing but poverty.

Thames Society of Paranormal Investigations

Footsteps in the attic? Shadows in the basement? Who you gonna call?

Shamus Denniston.

This hour, we sit down with the founder and director of the Thames Society of Paranormal Investigations. We hear spine-tingling stories of local hauntings and take your ghostly comments. 

Was the Soviet Union involved in the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy?

Given Cold War tensions and the fact that shooter Lee Harvey Oswald had defected to the Soviet Union and lived there in the years leading up to the assassination, it's a question that has long intrigued even the mildly conspiracy-minded.

Some 2,800 documents released by order of President Trump on Thursday provide some possible insights into how the assassination was viewed inside the Soviet Union.

Chion Wolf

The ensemble Cuatro Puntos sees music as a catalyst for change. The group, which is based in Connecticut, performs and teaches around the world. The ensemble often collaborates with members of local communities during performances.

Fronteiras do Pensamento / flickr creative commons

Richard Dawkins is probably the best-known ethologist and evolutionary biologist in the world. And he's maybe the best-known atheist and secularist -- he would say "rationalist" -- in the world.

JD Lasica / Flickr

There’s no doubt about it—health care in the U.S. is complicated.  

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

The devastation left by Hurricane Maria on September 20 is overwhelming the millions of Americans who are still without power and unable to meet basic needs.

Cheburashkina_Svetlana / Creative Commons

This year marks an important milestone in Russian history -- the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Russian Revolution.

Kris Krüg/PopTech / flickr creative commons

Kurt Andersen's new book is Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire. It's a 500-year history "of America jumping the shark." The idea, largely, is that our present post-fact, fake-news moment is... nothing new.

This hour, we look back at the history. We look at our present -- which is to say, we look at our present president: "To describe [Trump] is practically to summarize this book," Andersen says in Fantasyland. And we wonder if there's any way to regain and retain reality in America.

Pages