Colin McEnroe


Colin McEnroe hosts the daily WNPR show, The Colin McEnroe Show. He is a weekly columnist and blogger for The Hartford Courant and a contributing editor at Men's Health. He has recently concluded a series of columns for Bicycling magazine.

He is the author of three books and one play; and his work has appeared on the New York Times Op-Ed Page and in Mirabella, Best Life, Cosmopolitan, Forbes FYI and Mademoiselle. It is not his fault that only one of those magazines still exists. He frequently moderates the Connecticut Forum and teaches media studies at Trinity College. His books, columns, magazine articles and radio shows have won numerous awards, all of which are in boxes somewhere.

There are times when he still can’t believe it’s not butter. 


The Colin McEnroe Show
4:28 pm
Wed January 18, 2012

An Argument To Self Publish

Flickr Creative Commons, mccun934

It seems oddly fitting that today we're doing a show about performers and writers who, rather than seek the approval of publishers and entertainment companies, put everything together on their own. They produce. They publish. They market. They, if all goes well, collect.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
4:15 pm
Tue January 17, 2012

Inside Gov. Malloy's Two-Storm Panel

Chion Wolf

We tell ourselves that Connecticut weathered huge storms last year, and that's both true and not true. Irene, for example, never struck Connecticut as a hurricane.  Any kind of hurricane. Irene's sustained winds reached about 50 mph.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
2:28 pm
Fri January 13, 2012

The Nose: 2012 Politicking, Destructive Yoga & Endorsements!

Flickr Creative Commons, Sudhamshu

You might have missed it, but this week saw an interesting discussion of the very nature of journalism. It was triggered by the New York Times Public Editor Arthur Brisbane, who wrote a column asking whether reporters should challenge, examine and in some case rebut vague but untruthful statements made on their beat.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
2:11 pm
Thu January 12, 2012

David Edelstein On Noomi, Rooney, Charlize, Jessica Chastain and Simon Pegg

pthread1981, Flickr Creative Commons

Let me tell you about the last six days of my life. I've seen, in theaters, "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy," "Martha Marcy May Marlene," "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," and, in IMAX format, "Mission Impossible -- Ghost Protocol." At the Bushnell, I saw opening night of the national tour of "Memphis." On television, I squeezed in "The Debt" with Helen Mirren. And the season opener of "Downton Abbey".  

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The Colin McEnroe Show
3:06 pm
Wed January 11, 2012

Will Print Dictionaries Survive?

Flickr Creative Commons, chrisdlugosz

The word "meme" is a great example of a meme and of a word that was very quickly and totally absorbed into the language.

Thinker Richard Dawkins proposed the word in 1976 to refer to a unit of information that can be passed around. My guess is that it sat pretty quietly until the 1990s until it became a perfect way to talk about the spread of ideas across the Internet. We would eventually coin another term for this: "going viral."

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:41 am
Tue January 10, 2012

The Light & Dark Side Of Neutrinos

monado, Flickr Creative Commons

If you're anything like me, your knowledge of neutrinos goes something like this:

  • They are extremely small. Smaller than other really small things.
  • John Updike wrote a poem about them.

There's something inherently funny about them. It might be their name. It might be something more than that. And then maybe you saw the coverage of the experiment in which neutrinos appeared to move faster than light.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
4:41 pm
Mon January 9, 2012


howthebodyworks, Flickr Creative Comments

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The Colin McEnroe Show
2:39 pm
Fri January 6, 2012

The Nose: Iowa's Caucus; The 'Real' Kardashians & Things We Like in 2012

Flickr Creative Commons, DonkeyHotey

The national political media spend about a month trying to convince you that Iowa's caucuses are important. Now they're going to spend a week telling you why they don't matter.

On his blog PressThink, media critic Jay Rosen argued this week that: "The Iowa Caucuses are presented as a news event, a mini-election with an informational outcome, a winner. But what they really are is a ritual, the gathering of a professional tribe, which affirms itself and its place in our political system by staging this thing every four years."

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The Colin McEnroe Show
4:34 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

In Defense Of Fixing Stuff

Flickr Creative Commons, schmilblick

This show is happening partly because my TV set broke. It was a big flat screen Samsung purchased in 2008, and it suddenly wouldn't turn on.

I asked about TV repair on Facebook and was surprised at how many people told me that nobody fixes anything anymore. So I posted again on Facebook, writing "Really, I just have to throw it out?"

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The Colin McEnroe Show
4:10 pm
Tue January 3, 2012

What Do We Know When There's Too Much To Know?

Flickr Creative Commons, dierk schaefer

David Weinberger, our guest today, argues that our reservoir of information has become so huge and complicated that one of the standard activities of knowledge-making -- shaping facts into testable theories and equations -- doesn't really work any more. Scientists take data and build models. Then they watch the models to see what happens.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
2:30 pm
Fri December 30, 2011

The Nose: Looking Back At 2011, Looking Forward To 2012

Bayasaa, Flickr Creative Commons

The job we do here tends to breed a mild case of optimism, because we spend a lot of time talking about new ideas. If we spent a lot of time talking about the status quo, we'd be more pessimistic because so many basic institutions -- political, financial, medical and cultural -- all seem broken.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:59 am
Thu December 29, 2011

Anesthesiology 101

Isafmedia, Flickr Creative Commons

Whether it's 30 minutes of 24 hours, time under anesthesia is time you'll never get back. Anesthesia finds the light switch of the brain and flicks it off. We're not conscious, we don't feel pain, we don't remember and we don't move. Even now, 165 years into the age of anesthesia, we know what works but we don't know exactly how. Consciousness is a mystery, so there's no exact road map for his induced and carefully controlled state of unconsciousness is.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
12:09 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

Our Favorite Jazz For 2011

Flickr Creative Commons, HenryStradford

Like pretty much everybody else on the planet, I bought my first jazz recordings in college. Thirty-five years later, I still feel inadequate and intimidated by a lot of what I hear. I think listening to jazz is sort of a muscle. Either you use it or it atrophies.

For today's show, we asked three jazz experts to pull together about 15 of their favorite recordings from the past year. (Listed below.)

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The Colin McEnroe Show
3:32 pm
Tue December 27, 2011

Is Everybody A Gossip?

Flickr Creative Commons, carlumare

On the Internet, gossip lives forever.

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Social Media
2:52 pm
Fri December 23, 2011

The Nose: Defriending On Facebook, North Korean Chic & Beliefs

Flickr Creative Commons, Jean Pichot

Everything contains its own opposite said the philosopher Heraclitus. From Freud and Erikson we came to understand this in terms of forbidden impulses. In his 2011 book "Boomerang," Michael Lewis dwells on the notion that Germans -- despite or because of -- their cultural obsession with order and cleanliness are also drenched -- through their sayings, idioms, folktales and riddles -- in the imagery of feces.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
3:05 pm
Thu December 22, 2011

Political Endorsements, Ambition And Portraits

Flickr Creative Commons, kkirugi

Today's show was sort of a political grab bag. We drilled down -- that might be the first time I've ever used that expression -- on the subject of political endorsements, which are flying around fast and furious right now.  We'll also alighted briefly on the issue of reapportionment, which is winging its way to the State Supreme Court.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
3:04 pm
Wed December 21, 2011

The Life Of Bodies After Death

We are constantly confronting death. If you watch those CSI shows, you see death. If you watch cable shows, like "Boardwalk Empire", you see gruesome grisly death. If you watch the news or read the paper, you find out about people who died.

But none of them are us.

They're abstractions. They don't tell us about our own deaths any more than Lord of the Rings tells us about our impending trip to Mordor. Death, in television and even in the news, is usually somebody else's problem.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
12:38 pm
Mon December 19, 2011

Our Favorite Songs Of 2011

Flickr Creative Commons, cogdogblog

We're bringing our music experts in today to give you their picks, especially those of you who have to buy stuff for other people during the holiday giving season. I decided to get out of their way and not bring in any picks of my own, but I'll use this little unencumbered moment to mention a few things.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
3:31 pm
Fri December 16, 2011

The Nose: Christopher Hitchens & Tebow Trend While Mann's Malloy Epic Continues

Flickr Creative Commons, ensceptico

The person with the best take on the death of Christopher Hitchens would have to be Christopher Hitchens.

Here he is:

"The only position that leaves me with no cognitive dissonance is atheism. It is not a creed. Death is certain, replacing both the siren-song of Paradise and the dread of Hell. Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain, is then to be lived far more intensely: we stumble and get up, we are sad, confident, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and love. There is nothing more; but I want nothing more."

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The Colin McEnroe Show
3:57 pm
Thu December 15, 2011

All Tech (Problems) Considered

Flickr Creative Commons, Kr. B.

I have a problem.

The computer that was the home base for my iTunes has died, so the only place my iTunes exist is on my iPod.

If you tell me I should have backed up my iTunes, I will hit you. I googled this whole problem and learned that solutions do exist. I tried one of them and was too stupid to be able to make it work.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
2:54 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

The Nose: Perry's Ad, The War On Christmas, & The Word Of The Year

mtcarlson, jamiesrabbits, Flickr Creative Commons

Last year, while filing in to a holiday party, I overheard a woman grumbling about how much she dislikes having people in stores greet her with something neutral like "Happy Holidays." 

"I let'em know!" she snarled. "It's Merry Christmas."

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The Colin McEnroe Show
2:10 pm
Thu December 8, 2011

Fonts & Typefaces

Chion Wolf

Matthew Carter is the Oprah of fonts. He has created Georgia, Tahoma, Bell Centennial and Verdana. Everything he touches turns to gold. For his troubles, Carter recently received a Mcarthur Genius Grant. We're thrilled to have him on he show today, but even more thrilled by the topic of fonts and typography. We'll be talking today about how fonts sell movies, tip elections, and convey stability, austerity or prosperity.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
2:11 pm
Wed December 7, 2011

Occupy Updates, Botched Butlers, & Listener Letters

Chion Wolf, digital art.

From the size of the police presence that descended on Occupy Hartford's Turning Point Park yesterday afternoon, you would have guessed that General Zod and his super powered confederates had burst out of the phantom zone. Instead, the enormous caravan of cruisers, horses and police equipment was deployed to evict about ten scruffy, tired tent-dwellers.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
4:12 pm
Tue December 6, 2011

Sea Tea Improv and "Funny Times"

Flickr Creative Commons, makelessnoise

Have you noticed that nothing is ever quite funny enough?

Last night I was reading a story in the New Yorker and glancing at the cartoons and kind of gasping at how not funny they were. Hey, this is the New Yorker! It's not like there's some place else for all the better cartoons to go.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
4:53 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

The Life & Legacy Of David Foster Wallace

Flickr Creative Commons, Steve Rhodes

Why are we doing a show about David Foster Wallace?

It's the kind of question Wallace himself would have enjoyed asking.  He might have even made it a central issue in the show, returning to it over and over again, palpating it.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
2:29 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

The Pledge, Powerball, Political Drama, Siri, & Horse Meat

Chion Wolf, respres, smiely, mike licht, wikimedia

The Pledge of Allegiance is a 20th century creature. It was written at the end of the 19th century by a Christian socialist minister as part of a general push toward American nationalism, with special regard for the flag. I find people all the time who think  it dates back to the founding of the United States. The phrase "under God" was added in the 1950s. There are all kinds of stores about how and why that happened. I think it's fair to sum it up as kind of a Cold War thing. The Soviets were godless. We weren't.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
2:42 pm
Thu December 1, 2011

Being Santa Claus

Tucker Ives

Saint Nicholas of Myra was a 4th century Greek bishop from an area that is now Turkey, so it is my position that he was a dark-skinned man, as opposed to the chubby rosy-cheeked walking cardiac time bomb of modern depictions and also as opposed to any kind of Norse, Gandalfian adaptations.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
2:30 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

Catching Up With Juan Williams

Nick Step, Flickr Creative Commons

Where to begin? Juan Williams is on the show today and will join me for a conversation at the Mark Twain House Friday night.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
2:43 pm
Tue November 29, 2011

The Risks And Rituals Of Tailgating

Courtesy of Joe Cahn

I was in the parking area next to Yale Bowl two Saturdays ago as word spread around the clumps of tailgaters that there had been a fatality in one of the lots. Details were sketchy, but everyone seemed to know that people had been hit by a motor vehicle. And for a lot of us, the shadow of that tragedy hung over the whole day. My son was with me, and he has a knack for summing things up. "Imagine dying because you decided to go to a football game," he said sadly.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
3:55 pm
Mon November 28, 2011

A Toast To Toast!

Ren & Stimpy

On "Battlestar Galactica" the Cylons were a much-despised race of human-like machines made by man, and the ethnic slur for them was "toaster." I think that's because a toaster is such a humdrum and servile machine. Not much of an inner life. Just sitting there, at our disposal, waiting to serve us in a pretty simplistic way.

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