human behavior

Foxtongue, Flickr Creative Commons

A listener named Shelly told me this one:

"My large scar on my left wrist reminds me that it is not good to combine platform high heels, blueberry vodka and a wet dance floor. Also, the good karma of attending a charity event will not cover you for bad choices of shoe wear."

See, that's a pretty typical scar story, if there is such a thing. Something happened. You got hurt. It was probably pretty horrible at the time. Now it's a little bit funny -- one of the stories that life wrote on your body.

Most Connecticut Snakes Aren't Venomous

Apr 10, 2013

State environmental officials have joined a national campaign to raise awareness about local snakes. 

Sara Björk/flickr creative commons

Barbara Wells / Creative Commons

Chion Wolf

Today on the Nose, we're going to talk about looks. 

Danny Getz on Flickr Creative Commons

We'll be scrolling through many annoying modern speech mannerisms on today's show, but somehow the glowing white coal in the middle of it all is "vocal fry" -- also known as creaky voice.

It's an affectation popular among younger girls, although older actresses such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Reese Witherspoon have used it in film roles, usually when playing, well, kind of an airhead.  

The word "annoying"  comes up a lot in reference to this.

Flickr Creative Commons, nan palmero

This week two parallels drama unfolded before the eyes of the nation.

Regaining Balance

Mar 28, 2013
Ethan Sherbondy/flickr creative commons

Everybody gets knocked off course. How do you rebalance in an unpredictable world? Bruce Clements joins Faith to talk about the art of restoring balance. Are there go-to tactics that work for most people? Or is the answer different depending on what happens to you? What can we learn from others? How do you get perspective when the clear mind you need is clouded and confused?

Yale University has introduced new workshops for students aimed at reducing sexual misconduct and improving the sexual climate on campus. Many sexual misconduct and prevention programs for college students center on decision-making and consent.

But if you’re at the point where there’s a question about consent, then you already have a communication problem, says Yale student Matt Breuer. He’s a Communication and Consent educator at the university. He says Yale’s workshops begin with conversation about sexual pressure.  

Flickr Creative Commons, TBoard

Writer Steve Almond says when he brings up his own candy obsession with other people "there is this immediate outpouring of memories, confessions, opinions, regrets."

Drunk Tank Pink

Mar 25, 2013
peapodsquadmom/flickr creative commons

Today: The way the thoughts we have and the decisions we make are influenced by forces that aren't always in our control.

Nigsby, Flickr Creative Commons

What is this story we're unpacking today? In a nutshell, two Torrington high school football players -- both 18 -- and a third boy -- 17 and therefore unidentified -- were arrested and charged with statutory rape arising from sex with two 13 year old girls. When the news came out, a group Torrington students jumped on social media and publicly blamed the victims. They called the girls whores and snitches, and demanded to know why they were not being punished.

Flickr Creative Commons, Tim Brown Architecture

John the Baptist, we are told, subsisted on locusts and honey. I used to think that John the Baptist's would be a great name for a chain of fast food edible insect restaurants, if that trend ever took off.

Come to find out, there's some disagreement, especially online, about whether he really ate locusts or whether that's a reference to the fruit of the locust tree. Maybe people just don't like to think about John the Baptist eating bugs.

Divorce In 2013

Mar 14, 2013
NDrewC, Flickr Creative Commons

Let me tell you about my Christmas Day this year. In the morning, I drove my significant other to the airport so she could fly to L.A. and see her grandchildren. Then I drove out to Canton to the home of my ex-wife and her significant other. My son and his girlfriend went there too, and we proceeded to have an absolutely lovely Christmas Day.

ElizaC3 on Flickr Creative Commons

In one sense, personal secrets are a modern invention.

 It's at least true that in small village life, keeping secrets is difficult. And for the working class in crowded cities, secrets may have seemed like a luxury as well.

 Of course, today, we may be going back in that old direction. We live in digital tenements, crammed cheek to jowl on Facebook where information is difficult to control. What you may regard as a shameful secret, your friend or sibling may regard as a hilarious shareable tidbit.

The Making of Mime

Mar 5, 2013
Allan Warren (Wikimedia Commons)

In the 1982 movie "Tootsie," we see Dustin Hoffman, doleful and dejected, walking through Central Park. He passes a mime balancing on one foot. Hoffman glances miserably at the mime. And then shoves him to the ground.

And in that moment, you might be seeing the beginning of the mime backlash.

There was mime related humor in the '70s, but most of it was friendly. Albert Brooks famously showed up on comedy shows in black tights and white face and narrated, in a French accent, everything that he was doing. "I'm opening ze door. I'm taking off ze shoes."

Flickr Creative Commons, Cathy, Sam, Max and Mai

The news today is full of the Mediterranean diet, a way of eating that is heavy on olive oil, nuts and seeds, vegetables, and fish and white meats. It has newly tested life-extending powers!

The news is also heavy with more stories of hidden horse meat in the meals in Europe, especially in pre-made lasagne and Bolognese sauce and burgers.

Daquella Manera, Flickr Creative Commons

I spent one night in the company of James Carville and Mary Matalin, in the course of being their onstage moderator at the Bushnell. My lasting impression was that these were two people whose primary loyalty was to each other. To an unusual degree, when there was down time, they wanted to be alone, together, door closed. I don't know how they sort out their extreme political differences, but I think the answer lies somewhere in what I just said,.


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?

Doug Wheller (Flickr Creative Commons)

Everyone counts down the days to vacation, right? Well not in seems we’d rather keep working.

Yes, despite all the data that time off makes you happier, healthier and MORE productive, a majority of americans - some 57percent had unused vacation time at the end of 2011, and most of them left an average of 11 days on the table.

Meanwhile, profits per-employee are at a 10 year high. What if we just cut into those corporate profits by taking a day we’ve earned here and there?

thanker212/flickr creative commons

Virtual Justice: The New Laws of Online Worlds

Adult Friendships

Apr 12, 2012

Facebook has redefined the word “friend.” But what if you’re looking for real friends - where would you begin?

It seems natural for adults, after high school or college, to struggle with new patterns of adult relationships.

When the weekend arrives, maybe we find ourselves a little bit at a loss for where to go to find the people we want to hang out with, people who aren't work colleagues or family members.