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Donna Summer would have been a great pop singer in any era, but she happened to come of age in disco. 

I'd go further than that and say that Donna, because she was a first class talent, lifted disco up out of what it had been -- a swamp of backbeats and heavy production -- and almost single-handedly said: This can be great music if somebody great sings it.

Chion Wolf

Today on The Nose, we link together a series of only marginally related stories.

We'll start with the amusing tale of Michael Wolff, a well-known media critic who found himself in a standoff with New York City cops over his attempt to bring his own juice to the movies.He got caught and then turned the whole thing into a Twitter episode.

Chion Wolf

Some weeks are inexplicably more scandalous than others.

This week began with a probe into millions of dollars in apparent bribes by Walmart officials in Mexico. And sitting alongside it was the slime spreading across the reputation of the Secret Service as more reports of strippers and club hijinks trickled in from all over the globe.

Chion Wolf

There are many versions of the so-called "Proust questionnaire," which is meant to tease out a portrait of a person based on hopes, dreads, likes and dislikes.

I just filled out one on the website of Vanity Fair, a publication which has put many hundreds of famous people through its own version of the Proust questionnaire. The site crudely analyzed my answers and suggested the people I most resembled were Dustin Hoffman and James Brown -- but the former much more than the latter.

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Newsflash -- on this show Garrison Keillor threw cold water on his much-publicized earlier statements that he would retire from PHC in 2013.

You can hear him say, on the audio here: :"I’m starting to doubt that myself. I’ve been thinking about it, thinking: what else would I do? And I can’t come up with anything….If I didn’t do it I would wind up in a tiny walk-up apartment with a couple of cats."

The Nose: What Do Presidential Debates Accomplish?

Oct 28, 2011
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The question is bubbling up right now because Texas governor Rick Perry wants to stop participating in debates. In fact, he told Bill O'Reilly, “These debates are set up for nothing more than to tear down the candidates. So, you know, if there was a mistake made, it was probably ever doing" a debate.

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Are we all entitled to a few blind spots? If so, one of mine is newspapers. I keep thinking somebody is going to find ways to improve them and make them thrive, even as the evidence of my own eyes suggests the opposite.

Today on The Nose, one of our panelists is Susan Campbell from the Hartford Courant. A few weeks ago, she shuttered her blog on the newspaper's web site. And this week, her colleague Helen Ubinas announced that she's leaving.

gongus, wfyurasko, andrechinn, Flickr Creative Commons

Even though I deplore what he said about President Obama on Fox & Friends and even though he seems, in general, like kind of a deplorable person, I kinda wish everybody would reconsider the idea of dropping Hank Williams Jr. from Monday Night Football's opening. There's some ethos of excess and yahooism that Hank captures perfectly, and, really, here at NPR, we've learned some hard lessons abou tossing people named Williams aside just because they said something stupid on television.

Mike Licht, Flickr Creative Commons

One pitfall a leader must avoid involves becoming a Charlie Brown or David Copperfield character. A person to whom things happen as opposed to a person who makes things befall others. 

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Last night, I saw "Wicked" at the Bushnell and was reminded of all the little subversive political jabs in a musical that has otherwise succeeded in cornering the attention of 12 year old girls.

Beverly & Pack, Flickr Creative Commons

For The Nose, we try to round up a posse of ideas that reflect the serious and playful sides of the week in culture. And culture has been unbusually giving this week. We're just getting to know Rick Perry, a guy who has already (kind of) threatened the Fed Chief, said there are some gaps in the theory or evolution, declared climate change and a non-issue and, well, he's just getting warmed up.

Courtesy Cundari Group

Today on the Nose, we talked about the controversial $200,000 marketing report released earlier this week.

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The winds of life can change abruptly.

Go back about six weeks, and Rupert Murdoch's media empire looks indomitable. Now it's slowly rolling in the water like a half-dead sea mammal.

hpebley3, Flickr Creative Commons

Here are links to a few of the topics discussed on today's episode of The Nose:

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Sports and superheroes have certain elements in common. Maybe I just want to think that because today we're going to talk about superhero movies like the Green Lantern and the Spider-Man Broadway musical. 

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This week a feud erupted between Hartford Courant columnist and blogger Rick Green and Frank Harris, a Courant columnist and chairman of the journalism department at Southern Connecticut State University. 

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One of our cops and robbers traditions -- as static as Kabuki -- is the perp walk.

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Here is what we propose to talk about on The Nose today - Bewlidering office jargon.

The semiotics of button-down collars. Why anyone should care about the upcoming royal wedding. The possibly overstated report of a gay caveman ...

Flickr Creative Commons, Luiz Fernando

Speaking of Elizabeth Taylor and modern perceptions of American womanhood, Camille Paglia said this week "we're in a period now where everything has to be taut in mind and body."

Chion Wolf

Garrison Keillor has announced that he'll retire in 2013.

Wikimedia Commons

Should we even talk about Charlie Sheen on public radio? As an essayist in Slate pointed out this week, public radio listeners tend to write letters of complaint when NPR covers Justin Bieber, Ken and Barbie, Tiger Woods, Michael Jackson, rappers, Levi Johnston, Mel Gibson, heavy metal or sports. 

Flickr Creative Commons, Dave_B_

The movie that had the biggest impact on the Academy Awards over the last ten years is one that did not win best picture ... or even get nominated - it was  "The Dark Knight," Christopher Nolan's 2008 Batman movie that was shunned in 2009.

Flickr Creative Commons, Sir Mildred Pierce

As a former religion writer, I struggle with the whole idea of branding any particular religion as a "Cult."

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Twenty or 30 years ago there was a Doonesbury strip featuring the president of Walden College and a rich uncle pennybags donor who wanted to give the college a new gym or fieldhouse. And the president tried, gently and awkwardly, to nudge the rich man toward the idea of a new African American Studies Center which the college actually needed. The last frame was the rich guy in full tantrum mode, fists clenched, screaming "I WANNA DONATE A GYM!"

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This weekend, anybody famous who isn't on the Mall with John Stewart and Stephen Colbert will be in Connecticut instead. Or maybe both places at once. Glenn Beck will be in West Hartford. Barack Obama will go through Bridgeport. And Bill Clinton will visit the University of Hartford.

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