The Colin McEnroe Show

The Colin McEnroe Show, hosted by Colin McEnroe, is looking for your phone calls and comments. Got an idea for a show? Know someone you'd love to hear Colin talk to? You can stream us live. While we are live, call us at (860) 275-7266, or email us at colin@wnpr.org. We're also on Twitter @wnprcolin.

Contact producers:

The executive producer is Catie Talarski. The digital editor is Heather Brandon. The technical producer is Chion Wolf.

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The story of Josh Hanagarne isn't necessarily funny. He was born with Tourette Syndrome, a poorly understood neuropsychiatric disorder which inflicts on Josh a blizzard of tics, flinches, whoops and yelps.  Most disconcertingly, he frequently hits himself in the face.

Josh's first refuge was books, and that led to a career as a librarian. His second refuge was playing the guitar, which somehow distracted his mind from the triggers producing the tics. And his third refuge was exercise, specifically strength and weight training. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Can the culture of one nation ever understand that of another? Critics say Fox's newest reality show in which 12 witless contestants believe their in a fight to the near death for the attention of England's Prince Harry. "I Wanna Marry Harry" is said to represent a new low in reality television.

Chion Wolf

When President Obama introduced the National Climate Assessment a couple of weeks ago, he asked eight special people to help him. They were national and local weather casters including Al Roker.

It was an interesting choice.  

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.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Taxidermy stops time. Creatures are born, they live they die, they decay into dust. But taxidermy catches the wolf or the woodpecker in the middle of the cycle and keeps it there. That's why there's something unsettling and a little creepy about taxidermy. Never forget, the most memorable taxidermist in cinema history was Norman Bates.

WNYC

Bob Garfield, host of WNYC's On The Media, kicks off this edition of The Scramble. Something tells us The New York Times' Jill Abramson saga isn't over...

Chion Wolf / WNPR

You'd think that the New York Times, after covering so many sackings, would know how to fire its own editor without having it become one of the biggest, ugliest stories of the week. On today's show, we'll explore the presumption that the Great Gray Lady is run by sexist pork faces.

Chion Wolf

The first children's room in a public library may have been in Hartford, Connecticut. The head librarian here, Caroline Hewins was an early advocate for taking seriously the reading needs of children starting in the late 19th century. Prior to that children's lit wasn't really treated as a genre that could stand on its own two feet.  

Today, of course, it's massive and diverse. Its themes range from light to darkness, its language may be mannered or naturalistic, its art may be glorious or crude.  And, there really seems to be a readership for all those possibilities. But, some would say we need more diversity.

Today on the show, we talk about children's books, first from the perspective of two authors and then with a scholar and a librarian.

John Smith of Jamestown / Creative Commons

When friends say they're going to Paris I make them promise to get a Plan de Paris,  which is a pocket-sized book of little maps and one big, huge fold-out map which you never use because it makes you look like a befuddled tourist and it's really hard to fold back into the little book. But the Arrondissement maps and Plan are essential. If you have them, you'll understand where you are and where you're going. If you don't, not so much. My point is this-it's just not true that we don't need or use maps anymore. 

Rodrigo Carvalho / Flickr Creative Commons

We start today's show with Eric Deggans, NPR's first full-time TV critic. Eric and I have talked before about the issue of diversity in late night comedy programming and lo and behold, the very intriguing Larry Wilmore has been given his own show. So, we talk about that but Eric's main focus right now is a kind of television agrarian ritual, the unveiling of this year's crop of network shows, most of them to be harvested in the fall. A short description if you've been missing Matthew Perry, Patricia Arquette, Scott Bakula, Tea Leone and Katherine McPhee, just watch CBS.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

You may have forgotten Monica Lewinsky, but she has not forgotten you. She's back with a Vanity Fair interview that re-ignites the whole debate about her.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

You probably wonder sometimes if you chose. Growing up, I was pretty sure I'd be a novelist and sometimes even now I wonder why I'm not. Why am I not sitting in a cabin at the McDowell Colony banging out my 24th book. No kidding, I really feel pretty bad about that. 

But the reality is, I'm not wired that way. My mind needs constant stimulation and constant feedback. This is a really good job for me even though my self-image is radically different.

Unknown Painter / Wikimedia Commons

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is the religious version of recession food. Since the end of the Civil War, the Mormon membership numbers have grown every single year, and quite often they've grown at an astonishing pace.  In the late 1970's and 80's, they added members at a rate of 5-6% a year. Today, their worldwide membership is around 15 million. 

Martin Pettitt / Flickr Creative Commons

We crave color. Think of the Spring trip you make to the park, that has beautiful tulips or multicolored roses in the Summer. Think of the enormous travel industry that springs up around fall foliage every year.

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This hour on The Scramble our superguest is David Folkenflik. I don't have to tell you who David Folkenflik is, do I? I mean, you're public radio listeners. The superguest always sets the agenda, and David wants to talk about new journalism start-ups like Vox, Five-Thirty Eight, First Look,  and about what middle-aged digital brand names like Slate are doing to survive. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

This hour on The Nose, we lead off with a Gallup poll in which Connecticut ranked second, just a tick behind Illinois, as one of the states people are most eager to leave. Half of the Connecticut people polled said they'd like to move out.

Now, it would be a mistake to ascribe this to any one thing. Property taxes, job market, unfriendly people, dormant cities, and cold weather all play a role, but I can't help but wonder whether Connecticut temperament itself also plays a role. People from Wisconsin would be less likely to say a bad word about the place, even if they had all their belongings packed. That's just now how they talk about life.

moodboard / Thinkstock

Okay, here's a borrowed analogy. My grandmother talked about the light bill to refer to what you call the electricity bill. And, that's because she lived at a time when literally, that's all electricity did-power the lights. And now, all sorts of things run on that same power. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

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.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

For people with really bad arthritis the idea of intentionally suffering bee stings is an easier sell than it is with the rest of humankind. Sometimes my knees hurt so bad, a bee sting would be a welcomed distraction. I mean, it couldn’t make things any worse and there’s something intuitive about the idea that our body’s natural response to the venom might actually counteract other problems. So, this hour, we talk about apitherapy.

First, we explore the world of long-haul bee truckers. The nation’s farm depends on these peripatetic pollinators who cross the country and travel up and down the coasts. It’s a lot like other kinds of trucking and then it’s totally different.

Daniel Novta / Flickr Creative Commons

We cover a lot of ground on this hour's Scramble. We begin with the editor of Salon.com in a conversation about a story that dominated the headlines this weekend, the racist remarks attributed to Los Angeles Clippers owner, Donald Sterling.

Dave Daley sees Sterling and Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy as part of a pattern. I don't. Not exactly, anyway. Dave also talks about Thomas Piketty, the first rock star economist in, well, a really long time.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

This was a week when Connecticut professors got rambunctious, when pine tar was discovered in places it shouldn't have been, and when President Obama played soccer with a robot. I can't guarantee which of these things will make its way onto our weekly pop culture roundtable, The Nose, except definitely the professors.

This one from UConn mocked and challenged the arguments of a creationist, and this one from Eastern was caught railing against Republicans, calling them "racist, misogynistic, money-grubbing people" and saying colleges will close if the GOP takes over the Senate.

Chion Wolf

You have to trust us. 

Because I realize that a show about the Eastern Hemlock doesn't sound that sexy. In fact, we've done tree shows in the past after which I have said, "Let's not do any more tree shows." But we think we've got something here. 

First of all, this our third show working with Bob Sullivan, a writer who, in the past, has been able to make just about any topic exciting. Second, this is a story with a villain, a cottony, crawling, feeding life form called the wooly adelgid. You want something you can hate without the tiniest tremor of remorse? We're going to give it to you. 

Third, this little villain is striking right at a major player in the natural cycles that can either slow or accelerate climate change. Fourth, we're going to be talking about the souls of trees. Trust us. 

Charles Haynes / Wikimedia Commons

The more I read about The Dallas Buyers Club, the less I like it, which is too bad because I really like that movie.

First, I read the that film's portrayal of Ron Woodruff, the hard-bitten homophobe who gradually softens is wrong. Woodruff was, according to friends and family, comfortably bisexual. He never had to go through the transition you see in the film.

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?

Libby Baker / Wikimedia Commons

Is there a connection between what happens in youth sports and the locker room bullying of Richie Incognito or the steroid-spattered reputations of Alex Rodriguez and Lance Armstrong?

And, we all know that major college sports have become engines of commerce allowing a lot of people, although not the athletes who drive those engines, to get rich.

But, is there any way in which those dollar signs are sliding down into youth and high school sports.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

"Molly" is the nickname for MDMA, or ecstasy. It's short for "molecule," meaning you're getting the "real thing," chemically speaking. Except you almost never do.

This hour, we talk about the dangers of Molly, the medical uses of MDMA, and the curious romance between the drug and the form of music known as EDM, Electronic Dance Music.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The ukulele was not always obscure. Two of the biggest stars of the 20th century used them as their principal instruments. One is a name you probably don't know, but George Formby was a enormous sensation in Great Britain on stage and in movies in the 1920s and '30s. He specialized in playing a banjo-shaped ukulele, and he trafficked in comical, mischievous songs full of double entendres. 

Michael Childers

Fear of Flying sold 18 million copies worldwide and helped tip feminism into a new focus on fulfilled sexuality. But it also introduced a meme so pervasive that the book's author, Erica Jong, worried the phrase "zipless f--k" would appear on her tombstone.

Jong recenly defined the phrase on NPR's Weekend Edition:

The zipless f---- was more than a f----. It was a platonic ideal. Zipless, because when you came together, zippers fell away like rose petals. Underwear blew off in one breath like dandelion fluff. Tongues intertwined and turned liquid. Your whole soul flowed out through your tongue and into the mouth of your lover.

So how does the world of 2013 look to the writer who gave us Isadora Wing?

We talk with Jong about feminism and gender in American pop culture and politics.

miz_ginevra / Flickr Creative Commons

Consider America from 1985 to 2000. You wouldn't say nothing happened in those 15 years but America was a fairly calm place to be most of the time.

Now consider the period that came next. It began with a presidential election so riddled with such uncertainties that the effort to confirm the result dragged on for days and went to the Supreme Court.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Our SuperGuest on today's Scramble is Jen Doll, who has three topics that she wants to discuss:

The first is the return of "Mad Men," a show in its final season and perhaps more than any other TV show, a driver of the phenomenon that utilizes the talents of many, many cultural commentators to analyze and debate the underlying themes in each episode. If you visited a site like Slate or Salon on certain Monday mornings, you might make the mistake of thinking this was a publication mainly, or entirely about, "Mad Men."

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