Betsy Kaplan

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The Colin McEnroe Show
8:00 am
Wed October 15, 2014

Live From Watkinson: The Perils of Teaching and Learning

Credit naosuke ii / Flickr Creative Commons

If I had my way, we would do this whole show without the "E" word. That's "education." Somehow, the "E" word has come to symbolize, for me at least, debates about government policy, instead of teaching and learning. I wanted to talk about those other two things: teaching and learning. So I rounded up a public school teacher, a private school principal, a public school superintendent, and one of the nation's most outspoken commentators on teaching and teachers.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
12:04 pm
Tue October 14, 2014

The Threat of a Post-Antibiotic Era

Stewart (Chip) Beckett is the senior veterinarian of Beckett & Associates Veterinary Practices in Glastonbury, Connecticut.
Chion Wolf WNPR

The notion of drug-resistant bacteria has gone from an exotic problem to a common one. If you have even a medium-sized circle of acquaintances you probably know somebody - or an older parent of somebody -battling an infection that ignores standard antibiotics. It's a big problem and today we're going to focus on one chunk of it, the connection between antibiotics given to farm animals and the rise of these diseases.

If we treat ourselves the way we treat pigs, cattle and chickens, we'd be put on antibiotics at birth and pretty much never go off them until we die.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
11:02 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Pondering Modern Love

Credit Javie Delgado, Flickr Creative Commons

It's hard to improve on the poet, Rilke, who wrote, "Love consists of this, that two solitudes meet, protect, and greet each other." But did Rilke have to deal with Angry Birds and Snap Chat?

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The Colin McEnroe Show
11:09 am
Fri October 10, 2014

Ready, Set... NOSE!

Theresa Cramer is a writer and the editor of E-Content Magazine, where she covers the world of digital media
Chion Wolf WNPR

Why do opposing political candidates so often wind up disliking each other? I get that there are forces in motion against one another, but does that have to turn into animus? Wouldn't we all like to think that we could keep things on a certain humanistic level if we were running? Say things like "Ralph is a great guy, even if he's dead wrong about everything. I really enjoyed getting to know  him during this campaign, and I admire his commitment to his vision, even though I think the rest of you would be nuts to embrace it."

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:44 am
Thu October 9, 2014

Deliberating Political Debates

Tonight's debate moderator, Colin McEnroe!
Chion Wolf WNPR

The notion of a political debate embedded in a campaign for office is a younger idea than you might think. It became codified as a result of a 1960 debate between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy. Prior to that, debates were rare. Okay, now you're thinking about the Lincoln-Douglas debates. Those were really unusual for their day, and it's worth noting that in 1858, senators were elected by state legislators. So those debates - conducted before huge crowds - weren't really held for the same reasons that they're done today. The history of debates is really the history of television.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
11:13 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Kids Today Are SO Spoiled!

Credit Lord Jim / Creative Commons

Kids today are so spoiled! Alfie Kohn says politicians, academics, and the media spend a lot of time instilling in parents the fear that they're ruining their children with too much love. 

But, Kohn says wait a minute! Instead of assuming we're spoiling kids who don't show grit, motivation, and a competitive spirit, maybe we should instead question those values we hold dear.  

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The Colin McEnroe Show
11:08 am
Tue October 7, 2014

Let's Lavish a Little Love on Language

Peter Sokolowski is Editor-at-Large at Merriam-Webster. He blogs at Merriam-Webster Unabridged, appears in Ask the Editor videos at Merriam-Webster.com, and was named among TIME’s 140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2013.
Chion Wolf WNPR

A few times a year we like to do shows about words and language.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:07 am
Tue October 7, 2014

An Interview With Steven Pinker

Steven Pinker researches language and cognition as a Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. He writes for several publications.
Simon Fraser University

Why should we care about writing when texting is quicker and easier to bypass inflexible grammar rules that perplex even the most seasoned writers? Mixed metaphors, split infinitives, passive sentences, ugh!!

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The Colin McEnroe Show
11:16 am
Mon October 6, 2014

The Scramble: Staying Single, and Genius Grants

Credit Jay Ryness / Creative Commons

Talk to any demographer. Marriage is in irreversible decline. According to Isabel Sawhill, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and author of "Generation Unbound," 40% of young people are unmarried. Now, that doesn't mean people will stop getting married. You've been to a bunch of weddings this year. What it means is that marriage as a precondition to parenthood is no longer the established norm from which everything else is a deviation.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
6:00 am
Fri October 3, 2014

The Nose: Slasher Films by Principals, "Post-Racial America," and Bummer TV

Credit MarLeah Cole / Creative Commons

One way to think of this is, a middle school principal should not be making blood-spattered slasher films. Another way is, it's kind of amazing that every middle school principal doesn't go home and make blood-spattered slasher films.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
4:32 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

Consciousness and the Soul

Credit Karen Neoh / Creative Commons

It has been nearly 400 years since Descartes wrote his famous declaration “Cogito ergo sum”, or, more commonly “I am thinking, therefore I exist”. But, in all that time, we still haven't answered the basic question: who are we?

In this hour, we explore the concepts of consciousness, the self, and the soul. What do today's top scientists, philosophers and spiritual leaders say about these topics and how have they arrived at their conclusions? Are we ready to accept the brain as the be-all and end-all of who we are or is there more to us than that?

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The Colin McEnroe Show
1:06 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

This Trailer Show is Rated G for Great

Credit https://www.flickr.com/photos/sarchi/1279251301/

This hour, we talk about movie trailers. Maybe you wonder what a movie critic thinks of them. Actually, critics don't see as many as you do because they often go to special screenings.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:56 am
Tue September 30, 2014

Dancin' in the Moonlight: Connecticut Dance Halls

David Foster is the owner of Shaboo Productions and the leader of the Mohegan Sun Shaboo All-Stars
Chion Wolf

This hour, we talk about two Connecticut dance halls, each springing from the vision of two very different men who took their respective dance halls down very different paths. One's dream soared, bringing thousands of concert-goers to over 3,000 acts over an eleven-year history. The other's dream stalled, his elaborate dance hall sitting idle for decades.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
11:36 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Warning: The Scramble Will Automatically Download to Your iTunes

Credit David Goehring / Creative Commons

We're back today after a one-week hiatus. 

Ben Nadaff-Hafrey is also back, this time as our Scramble SuperGuest.

We start today with a conversation about the embrace of U2 by Apple, and end with a chat about embraces in general.

So, leading off earlier this month, Apple had one of its special events. When people stop what they're doing to watch a big company roll out a new product, in this case the iPhone 6, Don Draper would be drooling in envy, right?

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The Colin McEnroe Show
6:00 am
Fri September 26, 2014

Bringing Back the Woolly Mammoth

Credit Funk Monk / Wikimedia Commons

Science writer Carl Zimmer names the Dodo and the Great Auk, the Thylacine and the Chinese River Dolphin, the Passenger Pigeon and the Imperial Woodpecker, the Bucardo and Stellar Sea Cow among the species that humankind has driven into extinction. What's notable about that list is that most of us would recognize maybe three or four of those names.

Think about that. We have obliterated entire species whose names we don't even know.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
6:00 am
Thu September 25, 2014

The Anatomy of a Villain

Credit Anna Fox / Creative Commons

A couple of weeks ago, I was sick with the April flu, lying in bed in a New York apartment, and trying to distract myself by watching one of the film adaptations of "Nicholas Nickleby." I found myself repeatedly moved to tears, especially when anything good or kind happened. Okay, part of this was that I felt a little vulnerable, and may have over identified with poor tubercular Smike. But another part, I'm convinced, was the excitement generated by pure moral language, which you don't encounter so much in modern culture.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
6:00 am
Wed September 24, 2014

A Tribute to Twins!

Identical twins Lucy & Layla with their father, Roger, who is also an identical twin.
Credit Courtesy of The Defining Photo

Identical twins are just like us - and then they're not! From Ann Landers and Dear Abbey, from the Castro brothers, one of whom might be our first identical twin president one day, carbon-copy twins live lives that the rest of us cannot fathom.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
6:00 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Please Don't Take My Stuffed Animal Away!

Credit Roxanne Ready / Flickr Creative Commons

Take a few seconds to reminisce about your childhood "best friend." Maybe it was a boy, a girl, an imaginary friend, or perhaps a stuffed toy. This stuffed toy was your childhood confidant that you dragged everywhere, from the local supermarket to the preschool sandbox, a transitional object that temporarily stood between you and your relationship with your parents. 

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The Colin McEnroe Show
11:38 am
Mon September 22, 2014

Evolving Damnation: The American History of Hell

Credit Gags9999 / Flickr Creative Commons

If you were dreaming up a new religion, maybe you wouldn't include the idea of hell. But in traditional forms of Christianity, even as they evolve, hell seems almost grandfathered in. They can't quit hell. Or can they? A 2013 Harris poll found that while 74 percent of U.S. adults believe in God, and 68 percent believe in heaven, only 58 percent believe in the devil and in hell, down four percentage points from 2005. Still, 58 percent! That seems like a lot.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
11:57 am
Fri September 19, 2014

The Nose Is Fading, fadin, fad, fa, f...

Credit Paul Joseph / Creative Commons

Getting ready for The Nose, we're all poring over stories about regional preferences for "uh" versus "um," about the new Miss America's performance with a red plastic cup, and about songs and relationships that fade out instead of coming to a dead stop. 

You have to join us to know what we decide but the picture is a good clue to one of our topics.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:43 am
Thu September 18, 2014

Open Wide, This Won't Hurt a Bit: The Discovery of Anesthesia

Elizabeth Egloff is an award-winning playwright whose many plays include The Swan, The Lover, Wolf-Man and most recently, Ether Dome, currently in production at Hartford Stage. She's also an adjunct professor of Playwrighting at Vassar and Barnard College
Chion Wolf

Living in Hartford almost all my life I've known for years the story of Horace Wells. At least, I know the story I know, which is that Wells was a Hartford dentist who introduced anesthesia. He may have been the first but I've always known there were other pretenders to that crown. 

I also knew that Wells became addicted to one of those products and died a horrible, tragic and ignominious death.

But, that's all I knew and I wondered how widely known that story was. 

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The Colin McEnroe Show
6:00 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Harriet Jones's Rockin' Scottish Independence Eve Special

Harriet Jones is the business reporter for WNPR, and a Scotland native
Chion Wolf WNPR

On the eve of a vote that could trigger independence after 307 years, Scotland has become a hot topic in the media. What would happen if the vote swings "yes"? Or what would be the consequences if a "no" vote rules?

It's interesting to listen to Americans try to explain tomorrow's Scottish vote to each other. We don't even have a common, settled understanding of the nature of the existing union, and therefore we have a hard time judging what is being proposed.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
12:17 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Gig-ecticut Is Coming

Elin Katz is Consumer Counsel, State of Connecticut
Chion Wolf

The number one lesson with infrastructure is build more than you think you need. If you don't, you spend forever catching up. In Connecticut, this is especially true about mass transit. We didn't build any for decades and now we're so far behind that even becoming semi-respectable is going to take decades.  

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The Colin McEnroe Show
11:08 am
Mon September 15, 2014

The Scramble on the Middle East, Child Abuse Laws, and The Roosevelts on PBS

Credit Wikimedia Commons

On Sunday, the New York Times ran an article full of President Obama's behind-the scenes reflections and conversations about ISIS and the Middle East. From that article: "He was acutely aware that the operation he was about to embark on would not solve the larger issues in that region by the time he left office. 'This will be a problem for the next president,' Mister Obama said ruefully, 'and probably the one after that.'"

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The Colin McEnroe Show
11:22 am
Fri September 12, 2014

The Nose Refuses to Grow Up

Theresa Cramer is a writer and the editor of E-Content Magazine, where she covers the world of digital media
Chion Wolf WNPR

"Comic book movies, family-friendly animated adventures, tales of adolescent heroism, and comedies of arrested development do not only make up the commercial center of 21st century Hollywood, they are its artistic heart." So writes critic A.O. Scott in a somewhat controversial essay from this week. We will discuss cultural immaturity on this episode of The Nose.

Then, we'll probe the delicate subject of "Fingerprint Words". The premise is that each of us has a word or two - a perfectly good word which we use correctly - that we use a lot. One of mine, I happen to know, is "warranted". I also know where I got it, and to whom I have spread it.

Finally, we'll explore reports that eating cereal is in steep decline. An entire civilization of elves and leprechauns now teeters at the edge of extinction. How about you? Has your perfectly warranted retreat from maturity caused you to give up cereal?

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The Colin McEnroe Show
11:24 am
Thu September 11, 2014

America's Love-Hate Relationship with Football

Credit Marine Corp New York / Creative Commons

I root for the Green Bay Packers...and not casually. As I speak, there's a Green Bay Packers mug nearby, on weekends I wear a Packers cap and use Packers shopping bags. Most disturbingly, in the long, long off-season, I subscribe to services which provide me with daily obsessive updates on anything going on in Packers land. And, I read them even though nothing really is going on. 

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The Colin McEnroe Show
11:27 am
Wed September 10, 2014

JFK Conspiracy Theories: American As Apple Pie

Patrick Nolan is a forensic historian, freelance writer and the author of "CIA Rogues and the Killing of the Kennedys: How and Why US Agents Conspired to Assassinate JFK and RFK."
Chion Wolf

The JFK assassination is like the Maine coastline: craggy, uneven, full of serration, points, inlands, islands, amenable to endless exploration and quickly obscured by sudden fogs. There are so many side trips and any one of them is a potential life's work.

Let me give you some examples.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:39 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Beyond Conjunction Junction: A Conversation with Bob Dorough

Bob Dorough.
Credit Mind Meal / Wikimedia Commons

You're about to meet a very special guy. There's a good chance you already know him, if you were in the generational cohort whose lives were enriched by Schoolhouse Rock. More than any other person, Bob Dorough put his unique musical stamp on that show and its offerings. But Bob Dorough is so much more.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:22 am
Mon September 8, 2014

An Interview With Sir Tom Stoppard

Cplin McEnroe with Sir Tom Stoppard
Chion Wolf

Life is full of peculiar ironies and thus, Tom Stoppard, quite possibly the most most dizzyingly proficient writer of the English tongue did not grow up speaking English.  to college. He is, to use his old joke, a bounced check. He grew up in Czechoslovakia and spoke that language until the age of three-and-one half, or perhaps five.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
1:06 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Sumptuous Silence

Marie Coppola is an assistant professor of psychology and linguistics at the University of Connecticut where she directs the Language Creation Lab. She’s also the founder and Executive Director of Manos Unidas
Chion Wolf

Imagine having no capacity for language acquisition. Imagine developing a language with grammars that are completely independent from the spoken language of the surrounding hearing culture.

Imagine being unable to engage in any of the thought processes I'm using right now: Choosing words, and bundles of words, to convey meaning, and pausing to ponder the interesting similarities between deafness and deficit; or grabbing for a phrase like "language acquisition" and appreciating the neat little package it represents. 

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