host's diary

MN National Guard / Creative Commons

It's 10:30 on a Friday morning, which is kind of "zero hour" for me to figure out the final order of topics for The Nose, our weekly culture roundtable. Maybe I can straighten out my own thinking and give you a window on our process in the same big gulp. 

About a year ago I needed, for reasons not worth delving into, to learn "People Will Say We're In Love." If you're going to study a song -- maybe play it 20 times over a couple of days until the lyrics and changes are second nature -- you better pick a version you like.  So I sampled a few dozen covers on iTunes and wound up picking a jazz singer -- previously unknown to me -- named Rachael Price. Rachael just swung it, and she had a low, throaty edge that I liked.

The show, if you missed it, is here. But people often complain they can't write down the endorsements. 

Let me go first because my endorsement was rushed at the end. I endorsed this (older) book as a nice gift for someone who loves jazz standards and the American Songbook. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Okay, so it's not Frost/Nixon. But over the last few years, I've been having an ongoing, at times entertaining, occasionally frustrating, and always interesting conversation on air and on stage with Dan Esty about "fracking" and natural gas. 

Last minute update: I'm fascinated by this article from this morning about Jacqueline Kennedy's pink suit -- maybe as a way in to a larger dicussion about this moment, about the way 11/22/63 is back and being re-processed through the lens of 2013. But I'm not sure the panel will go for it. 

It's 5:30 pm on Thursday, and I have so many tabs open on my browser I think Chrome could just implode, taking us all with it. This is not unusual as we get ready for The Nose, a weekly cultural roundtable. We look for a certain kind of "talkable" item, and finding them can be tough.

Hearst had San Simeon. Kane had Xanadu. UConn President Susan Herbst has Scarborough Street (in addition to the expensively refurbished president's mansion in Storrs). 

You can hardly blame her for wanting a pied à terre somewhere. It's nice to be able to get away from a campus which, as far as I can tell, is up in arms against her.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

It's never a good thing when civil rights litigator Gloria Allred shows up in your town for the second time in two weeks to file her second legal action against you. It's even worse when Allred says she's using your response to the first legal action as part of the basis of the second one. 

cmglee / Creative Commons

We're working on a show about whether work is the best place to do work. So we're nosy interested in how you feel about the physical spaces at your job. 

Stefan Westhoff / Wikimedia Commons

We're trying to gather up some Connecticut State Troubadours in our studio later this week, so it occurs to me to ask: Which is more ear-splittingly bad?

Genghis Smith / Wikimedia Commons

By the looks of things, you, the Connecticut Taxpayer, will soon own a failing tennis tournament. You already own a really bad college football program, and you recently agreed to pay a man $750,000 to stop coaching it


"Saturday Night Live" returned for a new season on last weekend. There are six new "featured players," the biggest cast turnover in recent memory. Five white men and one white woman. 

I brought up SNL with Eric Deggans on a recent show, and before the question was all the way out of my mouth he was planting his palm on his face and moaning, "I know what you're going to say."

Just as we were getting ready for our Dada show, this story batwinged through my brain.

Maybe it’s unfair to tar them all with the same brush, but much is being made of the way New York City Democrats turned their backs on a quartet of politicians who had sex scandals sticking to them like toiler paper to a shoe. We’re talking about this right now, as we get ready for this week’s Nose, a Friday cultural roundtable.

On The Colin McEnroe Show we have a (possibly misguided) notion that we can find at least a little bit of humor in subjects that most public radio shows would treat with utter seriousness. Not everyone agrees, and a certain percent of my negative email is from people who cannot believe that we have injected levity into something deserving only sober contemplation. 

Wikimedia Commons

Last week our culture panel, The Nose, tackled Bradley Manning's declaration that he is a woman named Chelsea. Many interesting points were made, but all three of my panelists favored the notion of everybody -- press included -- honoring Manning's request to refer to him from now on as said woman and as "she." In situations like that, I'll often lean the other way, just to make sure the issue really gets discussed. And in this case, I had substantive questions anyway.