human behavior

Flickr Creative Commons, kristina sohappy

A first kiss should be great. But it almost never is. Did anyone have a first kiss that was heavenly? We'll find out today.

As one of our guests points out, a kiss is usually our first sexual experience.  In fact, if it's not, there's a good chance that something almost literally out-of-order has transpired. But we almost never know how to do it right. In one of Salinger's short stories a little boy asks, apropos of nothing, "Why do people in movies kiss sideways?" And a soldier answers: perhaps because their noses are too big and get in the way.

Chion Wolf

My first request is that you not bail on this show because of its sports theme.

I know some people just think that sports has nothing to offer them, and they turn their backs on a lot that's good. I've lost count of the people who didn't watch Friday Night Lights, one of the best five TV shows of the last ten years, because, they said, it's about football.  What could possibly be of interest in a show about football? And today's show will be about more than sports. It will about writing. And fairness. And Monopoly.

If you feel some vague, latent sense of dissatisfaction with the way all the people around you look, it's possible that you're an unwitting victim of a culture in which digital technology allows for an unprecedented level of retouching, and airbrushing, and actual physical distortion of the human body.


In a way, it's profoundly egalitarian. You may not need large breasts and a tiny waist to be a magazine model -- or even a movie star.

Flickr Creative Commons, Dave Newman (newmanchu)

When you say "spy from Connecticut" Nathan Hale pops up on everybody's mental radar.

But there are a lot of other, darker stories, and the idea for this show began when our intern Nina Earnest stumbled on the tale of a Russian transplanted to the small town of Thompson, Conn., but possibly involved in clandestine operations.

Patrick Skahill

Quick! What do Lewis Carroll and Donald Rumsfeld have in common with Virginia Woolf and Oliver Wendell Holmes? They all wrote standing up. So did Ernest Hemingway, Albert Camus, Victor Hugo and George Sand. So did Philip Roth, Vladimir Nabokov and Thomas Wolfe.

Introvert Pride!

Sep 18, 2012
Ed Yourdon (Wikimedia Commons)

Maybe you've seen somebody in your life lately reading a book called Quiet by Susan Cain. It seems to be getting passed around a lot and given as a gift to known introverts.

The argument of the book is that our world treats the extrovert as normal and the introvert as diseased and needing treatment. Cain says that attitude ignores the strengths of the introvert.

Atheist Bus Canada, Creative Commons

While political candidates are quick to claim a religious faith, you sometimes have to wonder to whom they are speaking.

A recent Pew Center report said 19 percent of Americans claim no religious affiliation. A Trinity College report said that the so-called “nones” – spelled n-o-n-e-s – are the fastest growing group on the religion landscape. Who are the nones, and why do they matter?

thanker212/flickr creative commons

Virtual Justice: The New Laws of Online Worlds

brownpau, Flickr Creative Commons

Part of the genius of Cormac McCarthy's The Road is that he never spells out exactly what wiped out almost every one and everything. For the duration of the book, we accompany a man and his son as they try, as itinerants, to survive. At least once they come upon somebody else's disaster shelter and, for a brief tie, they live there and feast on what has been stored.

Flickr Creative Commons, spaztacular

Part of the genius of Cormac McCarthy's The Road is that he never spells out exactly what wiped out almost every one and everything. For the duration of the book, we accompany a man and his son as they try, as itinerants, to survive.

Cindy Papish Gerber

For the 41st meeting of our (extremely) informal "editorial board", we gathered, in the company of four *amazing* women, at Carmine's Tuscan Grill in New Haven. (Duo and I providing the "junk DNA".)

Over delicious (and healthful!) appetizers, we  talked about embarrassing moments, guilty pleasures - and choosing activities for summer vacations - with Deborah Pan, Kathy Barkin, and Anne Garland and Binnie Klein.

Racial Profiling

Mar 12, 2012
Emad Ghazipura (Flickr Creative Commons)

It has been a sad - but well-known - fact that in many communities, “Driving While Black” or “Driving While Hispanic” can be seen as a reason to get pulled over by police.

While the state has a law that mandates reports on the ethnicity of drivers pulled over in traffic stops - that data is not universally reported by towns. And the state agency that collects it is overburdened.

Where We Live Alone

Mar 8, 2012
Chion Wolf

In the 1950s, less than a quarter of American adults were single. Today - that number is up to about half.

But when we say “single” - we mean not part of a couple. A different - and slightly antique-sounding term - “singleton” means people who live by themselves. That number is up to some 31 million Americans.

On The Road

Mar 2, 2012
Michael Krigsman (Flickr Creative Commons)

Roads get you where you need to least some of the time. But roads are more than just well worn paths for busy motorists.

Chion Wolf

Pregnancy brings a rollercoaster of emotions for women and their partners.

Those 9 months bring parents anxiety, excitement, a sense of wonder, and joy. It's during the first trimester when mothers are first asked about whether they want to have genetic tests done to check on the baby's development.

How do parents decide if they want to undergo tests and what happens when results come back with news they weren't expecting?

Jeff Cohen/WNPR

God vs. Gay

Jan 20, 2012
Kellie Parker (Flickr Creative Commons)

Since Connecticut legalized gay marriage in November 2008, more than 6,000 same-sex couples have been married here.

More and more Northeastern states are legalizing same-sex marriage with New York doing it last summer. It’s an issue that continues to stir debate - from California’s Proposition 8 to this year’s presidential race.

thanker212/flickr creative commons

Virtual Justice: The New Laws of Online Worlds

Ruddington Photos (Flickr Creative Commons)

Today, just 51% of adults over 18 are married, dropping from 72% in 1960. It’s a record low.

Instead, more people are living in alternate arrangements, including cohabitation, single-person households and as single parents.

The numbers come from a Pew Research Center analysis of census data - and we’ll be trying to figure out what it means on today’s Where We Live.

Mormon Voting Trends

Dec 19, 2011
Chion Wolf

A recent Trinity College study takes a look at socio-demographic trends among the United States' Mormon population. Mormons make up just 1.4% of the U.S. adult population and vote heavily Republican.

It is also a group with very high rates of voter registration. We talk with someone who worked on this study, Juhem Navarro-Rivera and take listener phone calls about the media's coverage of the Mormon presidential candidates.


Last week, two more men accused Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky of sexually abusing them when they were children. The case has raised questions about what one is required to do when child abuse is seen or suspicioned. Policymakers in CT are discussing whether to make all adults “mandated reporters,” but some worry this could mean a flood of reports that would clog the system.

Cindy Papish Gerber

Episode 25 was recorded at Chips Family Restaurant in Orange (there's also a Chips in Fairfield) where we feasted on award-winning pancakes. (Thanks to Dina for her award-winning hospitality!)

Our guest editors were Susannah Bailin, Jaki Valensi-LauperRandye Kaye, and Helen Kauder.

Justin Russell/flickr creative commons

Complex encounters when you go home for the holidays. How to have freedom in a confining atmosphere. And understanding autistic people.

Decisions, Decisions

Nov 17, 2011
Rex Roof, Creative Commons

When you make a decision, do you carefully deliberate? Or do you go with your gut?

It seems as though those are our choices...but as scientists dig deeper into the human mind, they’re discovering that this is not actually how the brain works.

Our best decisions - they find - are a finely tuned blend of both feeling and reason and the precise mix depends on the situation.


Oct 4, 2011
carwil, creative commons

It started three weeks ago with a small group of protesters, a vague list of objectives, and a central message: Occupy Wall Street.

The movement has picked up steam - adding thousands of protesters, with a still evolving list of concerns.  Aimed at corporate America and the wealthiest 1% of the nation’s taxpayers, another central theme of the protest is: “We are the 99%.”

For the better part of a week, the biggest story in the media was the perceived lack of coverage of the protests... by the media.

Kristin Andrus

Confessions of a Tarot Reader: Practical Advice From This Realm and Beyond

Lessons learned from the cards, and the incomparable Jane Stern

Tarot cards have been used to foretell the future for centuries. In the hands of a sensitive and gifted reader like Jane Stern they can help clarify the decisions we make every day and realign our lives to work more effectively.

MiiiSH, Creative Commons

Steve Jobs’ departure from Apple has people talking about what makes a great business leader.

You’d have thought the pope or the president was stepping down.  Such was the adulation laid on the outgoing leader - and such was the worry.  Can he be replaced?  

Jobs made such an impact at Apple not because he’s good at computers, but because he’s been able to transform a successful business several times through the force of personality, his vision and charisma.

Scared Sick

Aug 19, 2011

All the news about health and medicine we’re exposed to might lead some to healthier lifestyles...but to some people, all this information can cause a problem.

For hypochondriacs, a little knowledge about health and medicine can lead to a fear of everything that can possibly go wrong with their bodies.

by psd / Creative Commons

WNPR and Your Public Media contributor Heather Brandon has accepted our challenge to complete a media fast. She'll be abstaining from all media Monday, August 1 - Thursday, August 4 and will be interviewed, along with Tom Cooper, author of Fast Media, Media Fast: How to Clear Your Mind and Invigorate Your Life In an Age of Media Overload about her fast on the Thursday, August 4 edition of Where We Live.  No internet surfing, no television, no video games. This is her diary.