One of the verbal melodies that sustained me during the past year was the notion that people can be divided into two camps: those who think they're living in a comedy and those who think they dwell in a drama.
On this critical day in the life of American pseudo-food, I am again reminded if a tour I took in the 1980s with Zippy the Pinhead creator Bill Griffith. We visited in a Hostess factory in the Greater Boston area. We saw Twinkies being made.
On today's show we carried President Obama first address to the nation since his re-election. We had planned a regular episode of The Nose -- a discussion of James Bond, marijuana legalization and a few endorsements. We'll still do all of that, but we'll start of with the president's speech and our own quick reaction to it.
Today's edition of The Nose is an occasionally tense conversation about a series of issues all of which swirl around the issue of free speech. Chick-fil-A, a sandwich chain, sends millions of dollars in corporate profits to vehemently anti-gay groups, including ones that practice “gay-to-straight” conversion therapy. Its CEO went public this week with his anti-gay-marriage views.
I'm convinced that people in Connecticut really hate and fear mass transit, which is why mass transit in this state is stuck the era of Don Draper from Mad Men. The way people react to the Hartford/New Britain busway project is basically the way Gollum reacts when he's tied up with Elvish ropes: "It burns! It burns! We hates it!"
There are lots of reasons why now, getting into the game very late, Connecticut is going to face a lot of extra challenges. One of them is that development has followed no particular logic.
Donna Summer would have been a great pop singer in any era, but she happened to come of age in disco.
I'd go further than that and say that Donna, because she was a first class talent, lifted disco up out of what it had been -- a swamp of backbeats and heavy production -- and almost single-handedly said: This can be great music if somebody great sings it.
Today on The Nose, we link together a series of only marginally related stories.
We'll start with the amusing tale of Michael Wolff, a well-known media critic who found himself in a standoff with New York City cops over his attempt to bring his own juice to the movies.He got caught and then turned the whole thing into a Twitter episode.
Some weeks are inexplicably more scandalous than others.
This week began with a probe into millions of dollars in apparent bribes by Walmart officials in Mexico. And sitting alongside it was the slime spreading across the reputation of the Secret Service as more reports of strippers and club hijinks trickled in from all over the globe.
There are many versions of the so-called "Proust questionnaire," which is meant to tease out a portrait of a person based on hopes, dreads, likes and dislikes.
I just filled out one on the website of Vanity Fair, a publication which has put many hundreds of famous people through its own version of the Proust questionnaire. The site crudely analyzed my answers and suggested the people I most resembled were Dustin Hoffman and James Brown -- but the former much more than the latter.
Newsflash -- on this show Garrison Keillor threw cold water on his much-publicized earlier statements that he would retire from PHC in 2013.
You can hear him say, on the audio here: :"I’m starting to doubt that myself. I’ve been thinking about it, thinking: what else would I do? And I can’t come up with anything….If I didn’t do it I would wind up in a tiny walk-up apartment with a couple of cats."
The question is bubbling up right now because Texas governor Rick Perry wants to stop participating in debates. In fact, he told Bill O'Reilly, “These debates are set up for nothing more than to tear down the candidates. So, you know, if there was a mistake made, it was probably ever doing" a debate.
Are we all entitled to a few blind spots? If so, one of mine is newspapers. I keep thinking somebody is going to find ways to improve them and make them thrive, even as the evidence of my own eyes suggests the opposite.
Today on The Nose, one of our panelists is Susan Campbell from the Hartford Courant. A few weeks ago, she shuttered her blog on the newspaper's web site. And this week, her colleague Helen Ubinas announced that she's leaving.
Even though I deplore what he said about President Obama on Fox & Friends and even though he seems, in general, like kind of a deplorable person, I kinda wish everybody would reconsider the idea of dropping Hank Williams Jr. from Monday Night Football's opening. There's some ethos of excess and yahooism that Hank captures perfectly, and, really, here at NPR, we've learned some hard lessons abou tossing people named Williams aside just because they said something stupid on television.
For The Nose, we try to round up a posse of ideas that reflect the serious and playful sides of the week in culture. And culture has been unbusually giving this week. We're just getting to know Rick Perry, a guy who has already (kind of) threatened the Fed Chief, said there are some gaps in the theory or evolution, declared climate change and a non-issue and, well, he's just getting warmed up.