The Colin McEnroe Show

Weekdays at 1:00 pm and 8:00 pm

Note: Rather than try to explain the show ourselves, we’re asking the people who listen to describe what it sounds like to them. Josh Dobbin, our unofficial ombudsman and possibly most prolific commenter, is taking the first crack.  Here’s Josh:

“The sublime and the ridiculous are often so nearly related, that it is difficult to class them separately.”
Thomas Paine

The Colin McEnroe Show endeavors to prove Paine correct, every weekday. While the topics are unpredictable from one day to the next (previous show topics include whistling, placebos, politics, the nature of divinity, Barbra Streisand, bedbugs, human hydration, dinosaurs, unreliable narrators, ugliness, and raccoons), what is always assured is that a thoughtful, smart, and interesting exploration and conversation with amazing guests will take place about something.

Colin McEnroe is an author, playwright, professor, columnist, and blogger, who is allergic to penicillin and enjoys photographing his dog wearing hats and publishing those photos to the internet. He heads up a team that includes three inquisitive producers (see below) plus the comedy performers Chion Wolf and Greg Hill, who double as the show’s technical producer and tweetmaster respectively.

You can stream us live or subscribe on most podcasting platforms. While we are live, call us at (860) 275-7266, or email us anytime 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.

Ben Burgraff

In 1800, James Callender, pamphleteer and journalist, wrote this about John Adams, one of America's most revered founding father:

It is not so well known, as it should be, that this federal gem [John Adams], this apostle of the parsons of Connecticut, is not only a repulsive pedant, a gross hypocrite, and an unprincipled oppressor, but that he is, in private life, one of the most egregious fools upon the continent. 

He went on to "enquire by what species of madness America submitted to accept, as her president, a person without abilities, and without virtues."

Michael Czerski / flickr

There’s a kind of idiocy about the way the White House Correspondents Dinner is, conceptually, a Feast of Fools with a comedian as Lord of Misrule, a night when decorum is suspended, comedy rules, etc.

And then D.C. never goes all-in. The crowd doesn’t laugh, and then there’s this post-mortem in which interested parties pull organs out of the comedy set and weigh them on political scales and try to make something out of them. The whole city should sign a disarmament pact or just stop doing this thing.

TIDAL

We plan to spend upwards of half of this hour unpacking Beyonce's new visual album, Lemonade. And we will barely have gotten the wrapper off by the time we're done.

Paul Van Der Woof / Creative Commons

The Tragedy of the Commons follows the theory that people can't be trusted to take care of common property without degrading it or taking more than their fair share of resources. This idea was popularized by William Forster Lloyd, who published a pamphlet in 1833 using cow herders to prove that people couldn't be trusted to share our common resources wisely. He believed property should be owned privately.

Thegreatlandoni / Flickr

From scientists to fiction writers, conspiracy theorists to theologians, aliens have captured the imagination of us all. But as we ponder the possibilities let us pause to ask ourselves why.

Why do these yet to be found creatures from space occupy such a central role in the musings of so many? And should their existence be confirmed, what will it mean for us on Earth?

Theresa Thompson / Creative Commons

It's Primary Day in Connecticut and I'm excited about it.

For the first time in a long time, Connecticut voters feel they have a say in which candidate moves on to the general election in November, most of whom spent time speaking to voters in Connecticut this weekend.

Citizens4taxjustice / Creative Commons

The effect of a declining middle class is everywhere -- the medically uninsured or underinsured, the heroin epidemic, declining life expectancy for middle-aged white men, flat wages, weakened unions -- the list goes on and on.

Scott Penner / flickr creative commons

His Royal Badness died yesterday. He was 57.

This hour, an appreciation of Prince.

haru__q / flickr creative commons

Everybody loves a bulldozer. In fact, we all grew up loving bulldozers, didn't we? From "Benny the Bulldozer" to Katy and her big snow, from all the Tonka toys to all the die cast model Caterpillars, the bulldozer is more of an icon in American popular culture than we maybe realize.

Poetry: Give It a Try

Apr 20, 2016
Michael Chen / Creative Commons

Washington Post columnist Alexandra Petry wrote a column a few years ago asking if poetry was still vital enough to change anything. Poets and poetry lovers reacted strongly, sending recommendations to enlighten her and encourage her to "get out more." Petry says that column haunts her more than anything she’s ever written, enough to follow it up with a defense - and an olive branch.

Joel Dinda / Flickr Creative Commons

Most cities would be thrilled to have a major or minor-league sports franchise come to town. It will bring crowds and new business and prosperity, right? Colin talks with panelists about the benefits, history, and costs of professional sports in Hartford.

Starz

Last weekend, the new Starz series "The Girlfriend Experience" premiered on cable and dropped in its entirety online. The always grumpy Richard Brody called it "an artistic as well as an epistemological disaster," but he blamed all of that directly on "the rigid format of serial television."

Spoiler Alert! It's a Discussion About Spoilers

Apr 14, 2016
Josh Engroff / www.flickr.com/photos/engroff/

Do you like spoilers? Hate them? Whether it involves sports, television, books or movies, has a spoiler ruined something for you? Enhanced it? Do you practice spoiler etiquette?

Michael Kerswill / Flickr

History and literature are filled with their antics. From the Renaissance's Triboulet to Shakespeare's Feste from "Twelfth Night," jesters and fools have delighted us for centuries with their subversive humor and quick wit. But while comedy was their brand, there existed hardships for these characters as well.

Javier 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?

Campaign for Rocky2016

Donald Trump was considered untouchable on his way to winning the nomination to represent the Republican Party in the 2016 election -- until establishment forces let go an unrelenting assault on his candidacy.

Now there's talk of revolution at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this summer, where the votes of superdelegates, or party loyalists, get the last word on who moves forward. The Trump campaign is warning against it.

Chuck Kramer / flickr creative commons

And after 15 seasons and 555 episodes and more than 345 Billboard chart toppers, "American Idol" is done with us. Love it or hate it, the show changed the American television business, the American reality television business, the American music business. It gave us Jennifer Hudson and Kelly Clarkson and Ryan Seacrest. And it gave us Taylor Hicks and William Hung. And Ryan Seacrest. We unpack the whole thing, the good and the bad.

Alison and Fil / Creative Commons

It's Yale and New Haven Humanism Week in New Haven, and so we thought: Hey, wait. Just what the heck is a humanism exactly anyway?

And so then we thought: And what about, uh, agnosticism? Unitarianism? Universalism? Unitarian Universalism? Maybe even atheism?

The Placebo Effect

Apr 6, 2016
CHRISTIAN SCHNETTELKER / Creative Commons

Placebo treatments have been making people feel better for a long time. They've been working since long before Franz Mesmer was run out of 18th-century Vienna for "mesmerizing" a young pianist into regaining her eyesight, after all hope for a medical cure had been lost.  

Doctors have long dismissed the placebo effect as inferior to conventional medical treatments that sometimes fail where placebo works well, including in surgical procedures like arthroscopy, a popular procedure that relieves the pain of arthritic knees. 

Scot Lilwall / Flickr

As golf season begins again there are some troubling signs for the sport's future. The game of presidents past and country-clubbers around the nation is in fast decline according to analysts.  With a decrease in participation,  television ratings,  equipment sales, rounds played and courses being built, are we seeing the end of golf?

Dave Granlund / DaveGranlund.com

The polling industry is in transition. Fewer people consider it their civic duty to participate -- less than ten percent today compared to 80 percent two decades ago -- and pollsters haven't yet figured out how to effectively capture public opinion using cell phones and online surveys. 

DC Comics/Warner Bros. Pictures

I get that it's stupid April Fools' Day, and so you can't trust anything you see on the stupid Internet. Except for the Trump quotes. The Trump quotes are just as legitimate today as they are on all the other days.

But so let me just make it clear right now that I'm totally serious when I say that on this edition of The Nose we talk about...

Rio Wight / Flickr

Richard Buckminster Fuller may not be a household name. Nevertheless, his contributions to society and to sustainable living through technology and design were both vast and transformative.

By the time of his death in 1983, Fuller had patented 25 inventions, published over 30 books and had chronicled nearly his entire career through a series of papers knows as the "Dymaxion Chronofile."

Jill Hoy

Jon Imber was at the peak of his career as an accomplished artist and teacher when he was diagnosed with ALS in the fall of 2012. "Imber's Left Hand," a documentary about Jon's life as ALS claimed the use of his dominant right hand, will air on April 5 at the Hartford Jewish Film Festival. 

Scott Liddell / Creative Commons

In 2013, over 1,000 gold coins were found by a couple walking their dog on their property in Sierra Nevada, California. A rainstorm exposed the rusted can holding the gold coins. They soon found additional rusted cans, all holding gold coins dating from 1847 to 1894. The face value of the coins was just under $28,000. Today's market value is about $10 million.

North Country Public Radio

Reporters describe Donald Trump events as frightening and unsettling for those in the media. Trump relegates the media  to rectangular pens they're not allowed to leave, singles out reporters with personal insults and refuses entry to those he doesn't like, and whips up his crowds against reporters he says are "very dishonest people." Will there be a free press under a President Trump?

Mike Mozart / flickr creative commons

Chicago White Sox first baseman Adam LaRoche abruptly retired from baseball last week with a year and $13 million left on his contract because the team's front office told him he had to stop bringing his 14-year-old son Drake into the clubhouse so much. Then the actual team rallied behind both LaRoches. But it turns out it all happened 'cause Adam's teammates complained about Drake. But so anyway: Aren't people who bring their kids to work with them just the worst?

Alan Cleaver / Creative Commons

Pre-prohibition research into alcohol use and consumption was wiped out when the country dried out in the 1920s. In response, American "alcohol science" was created in the post-prohibition era to bring alcohol abuse into the medical realm, triggering a cultural explosion between advocates on each side of the wet/dry divide. It was in this arena that Alcoholics Anonymous was born. 

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