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.

Joan Marcus/Hartford Stage

In 1954, Alfred Hitchcock directed two movies. They both star Grace Kelly. They’re both murder mysteries involving a married couple and a boyfriend and a girlfriend. They both take place almost entirely in one room. They both look like plays.

Peter Hapak / anagasteyer.com

You may best remember Ana Gasteyer eating Alec Baldwin's Schweddy Balls as Margaret Jo, the NPR co-host of The Delicious Dish on "Saturday Night Live." She was also a real-life Broadway actor and cabaret singer, and she just released her new album of jazz standards, I'm Hip. We talk about her upcoming appearance at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center on November 24, part of CPTV's new national music series, The Kate.

Wiki Erudito / Creative Commons

Star Wars fans are anxiously awaiting the release of "Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens," the seventh film in the Star Wars franchise, and first one without George Lucas at the helm. Will J.J. Abrams live up to the challenge? And where is Luke Skywalker?

Wikipedia

Colum McCann was assaulted in New Haven last summer while attending a conference on empathy. He was knocked unconscious and suffered physical and emotional injuries that lingered long after the attack.

Willle Stark / Flickr

Coincidences happen to everyone -- whether it's hearing a song you've been thinking about all day on the radio or running into an old acquaintance whose name recently came up in conversation. For events so seemingly unlikely, coincidences certainly have a way of happening quite often. And now, after much study, psychologists and mathematicians think they know why.

Uncle Pockets / Flickr Creative Commons

Music can be a powerful, transformative tool in the quest for social change. Protest songs are the songs associated with a particular movement.

Earlier this month, Janelle Monáe and Wondaland produced the searing protest song "Hell You Talmbout." Nearly seven minutes long, it's a tribute to a long list of black men and women lost, and has been performed alongside protesters at Black Lives Matter rallies.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Caroline Jacobs is a grown woman with children of her own. But by all accounts, she's a wimp. She would prefer to suffer in silence than stand up for herself or anyone else -- until she couldn't stand it anymore.  

One night, while at a public meeting and in a crowded room, she stood up, pointed her finger at the one she loathed, and shouted "F%$# You" to her nemesis. With that one phrase, she was ready to face her past. 

NASA / Wikimedia Commons

Atlas Obscura considers itself a "friendly tour-guide to the world's most wondrous places" -- a number of which can be found right here in Connecticut. 

Grendelkhan / Creative Commons

Connecticut might mean clapboard homes, leafy suburbs, and town centers that show off their roots to our colonial past. Unless you're thinking of southeastern Connecticut.

The southeastern part of our state conjures images of casinos, submarines, and a blue-collar vibe that's just a little different from the rest of the state.

It probably doesn't help that the Connecticut River literally cuts the state in half, separating southeastern sections from their wealthier brethren. Wally Lamb describes it as "more feisty than fashionable, more liverwurst than pate."

Alma Dzib-Goodin / Flickr

Tonight the Kansas City Royals and the New York Mets face off in game one of the 2015 World Series. A lot has changed in the 29 years since either of these clubs won the Series: a tenfold increase in the average player's salary, the commercialization of fantasy baseball, and four new expansion teams. And 'America's pastime,' has become increasingly multi-cultural with players coming from around the world.

Caitlin Mitchell

We had a great show planned for you today with two great authors. But, sometimes life is crazier than the fiction we talk about and today, we ended up with two great authors, but only one we expected. 

Sloane Crosley pays homage to Guy de Maupassant in her debut novel about three old friends searching for an elusive necklace as a way out of their quarter-life crisis, yet unable to share their deepest thoughts with their closest friends. 

Colum McCann was supposed to join us but was unable at the last minute. Instead, you'll hear from him next week. 

But, that left Colin with a lot of time on air by himself. He got to vamp for the last half hour like he hasn't been able to do since he started working at WNPR. He kind of liked it, especially when author David Mitchell dropped in for a surprise chat. You can't make up this stuff.

B Mauro / Creative Commons

This week, movie trailers lost their way when someone advocated boycotting Star Wars VII because they believe the trailer advocated white genocide. Why? Because a black man, a woman and a Latino were prominently featured in the trailer to the detriment of you guessed it, white men. What does this say about the level of diversity in science fiction fans?

Don't Let The Bed Bugs Bite!

Oct 22, 2015
Truly Nolen / Creative Commons

Humans are used to being the predator, not the prey. But when it comes to our relationship with bed bugs - well, these little critters have been making a meal of us for thousands of years.

Celebrating 100 Years of Arthur Miller

Oct 20, 2015
The Huntington / Creative Commons

More than a decade after his death, Arthur Miller’s plays continue to resonate with readers and audiences across the world. This October marks his 100th birthday, and theaters from Los Angeles to London are staging Miller productions in celebration of his centennial.  

Tulane Public Relations / Creative Commons

Jonathan Franzen has become that rare American author whose life and moods and sulks make news. From his friendship with David Foster Wallace to his fractious encounter with Oprah Winfrey, Franzen may have become America’s most visible intellectual. All that puts a lot of pressure on Purity, his newest novel. We’re experimenting on the show with a new book club format, asking three Connecticut literati to read and discuss the book.

Miguel Ariel Contreras Drake-McLaughlin (Flickr) / Creative Commons

Bob Woodward thought he knew everything about Watergate. Then Alexander Butterfield, now in his late 80's, told him there were other stories never spoken of. Woodward focuses on these stories in his latest book on the Watergate scandal called The Last of the President's Men. This hour, we hear from the legendary Washington Post journalist.

Also, the Wesleyan Argus faces an uncertain financial future. In September, the paper published an op-ed criticizing the "Black Lives Matter" movement. The backlash now threatens funding for The Argus next year.

Josh Haner, The New York Times / European Pressphoto Agency

This past week brought us the long-awaited first of six Democratic candidate debates, held at the Wynn Casino in Las Vegas. The tone was substantive, exposing a few stark differences between the candidates and their Republican opponents. They offered nuanced and complex views -- overall, a good night for voters who want to know the candidates. 

Wavian / Creative Commons

Three years ago, Hurricane Sandy hit the shores of Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey, killing 71 people and causing damages worth $50 billion. We suffer from a kind of amnesia: we know it happened, but we hesitate to change much about the way we prepare for future events. New York invested nearly $20 billion in new protective measures, simultaneously allowing 900 new housing units to be constructed next to the water.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

There's a debate over whether college should prepare kids with specific skills that will prepare them for jobs, or give them a wide-ranging but more general liberal arts education. 

The Huntington / Creative Commons

I could have called myself a Stradivarius,

for though I, of course, was just an ordinary violin, waiting,

ready to be held for the first time in a musician’s hands,

primed to be played,

mobilized by all my busy genes

to become music –

when first I felt the quiver

of its stirring sound,

I became, imparadised,

the most priceless stringed instrument

on the face of the earth. 

Christopher Ramirez / Creative Commons

Public radio is one of the few places where you can avoid ads for daily fantasy football companies like DraftKings and FanDuel. If you go anywhere else on the radio dial or turn on the TV, you'll probably encounter at least a few commercials. Now the industry is under intense scrutiny after an employee at DraftKings won $350,000 at FanDuel using insider information.

Stacy Spensley / Creative Commons

In 24 hours, UConn freshman Luke Gatti became a viral video sensation. By now, millions have turned on their computers to watch the apparently-intoxicated 19-year-old taunting and shoving a UConn food court manger. Over what? Mac 'n cheese, of course. 

alphaville / Flickr

Justin Lifflander wanted nothing more than to become a spy for the CIA. Growing up during the Cold War, he practiced spying on friends, family, and schoolmates in preparation for what he thought would be a career full of high-tech gadgetry and secret rendezvous. When Lifflander was finally assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow in 1987, he thought his dream was coming true.

What followed was something Lifflander could never have predicted. He was a mechanic at the embassy, then an inspector of Soviet missile sights, and then a suspected American agent followed at every turn by the KGB. Lifflander found himself living in a world which very much resembled his childhood dream -- but he was never a spy.

Wikimedia Commons

Philippe Petit made his walk between the towers of the World Trade Center over 40 years ago. He stayed up on that wire for 45 minutes, made 8 passes between the towers, got down on his knees, and he even laid down on it! But it's more than that one feat - it was a placeholder for a much broader philosophy of risk and creativity, and evidence of who the man really is.

What's In a Title?

Oct 6, 2015
Eon Productions, MGM

The opening credits of your favorite movies and television shows set the mood, tone, and characters for what's to come, and allow you to relax and get ready for the show. Some fast-forward through the opening credits to avoid distraction from the main performance. Others say title sequences are supposed to be more like a score: felt, but not noticed. 

The film industry first fell in love with titles in the 1950s, when iconic opening sequences from Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo" and Rod Serling's "Twilight Zone" were etched deep in our memories. The opening notes are still recognizable half a century later. The same can be said for the well-known HBO series "Game of Thrones." 

Emily Stanchfield / Creative Commons

Our weekly Monday afternoon "Scramble" continues the conversation arising from last week’s school shooting in Oregon. As the number of mass shootings continues to rise, the nationwide discussion has reached a stalemate. Is there a different, more effective way to talk about guns? 

DonkeyHotey flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey / Creative Commons

This week, Pope Francis was the biggest thing to hit America since the British Invasion. You could buy Pope-themed dolls, cookies with the Pope's face, hats, coffee mugs, backpacks, and even a Pope Bobblehead.

It was the pope's first visit to the U.S., and he seemed eager and happy to be here. He spoke passionately about the poor, climate change, and the migrant crisis, and cautioned against religious extremism. It has left some people wondering why he met privately and secretly with Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who refuses to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Alan Doyle is best known as lead singer of the Canadian band Great Big Sea. Recently, however, he's been touring with a different act: Alan Doyle and The Beautiful Gypsies

U.S. Intelligence Dabbles in Forecasting the Future

Sep 29, 2015
CALI / Flickr

The participants are average citizens: school teachers, waiters, pharmacists, perhaps even your neighbor. By day they work and pay their bills, but when they return home, things change. These elite individuals go to work forecasting the outcomes of global events (sometimes years into the future), all at the direction of a little-known government intelligence agency called IARPA.

While this all sounds ripped from the latest Hollywood thriller, the truth is that this is happening right now in America. The "superforecasters," as they are known, are all volunteers. They are Americans like you and me who signed up to take part in a long-running experiment put together by U.S. intelligence officials and several university professors.

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