It seemed this week that we were living in a Jonathan Franzen novel -- or maybe a collaboration between Franzen and his long-departed buddy David Foster Wallace. A cruise ship so impaired that passengers spent days pooping in bags. A flurry of accusations back and forth between a great newspaper and the inventor of an electric car.
It feels good to do radio in a big snow storm. Can I read some cancellations? Episcopalian Primal Scream of Newington, the Little Bitty Bitty Ducky Dirty Diaper Day Car, Etruscan Goat Dancing, are all canceled.
The poet Bill Collins writes of:
"The government buildings smothered, schools and libraries buried, the post office lost under the noiseless drift, the paths of trains softly blocked, the world fallen under this falling."
I have come to believe that of all things bright and beautiful on God's green earth, there aren't very many that can't be ground up and mixed with something else and used as either an aphrodisiac or a performance enhancing sports supplement. Or both.
From intestinal whale secretions to blister beetles to monkey glands to rhino horns, everything seems to have a use.
In the Satyricon by Petronius, I know, is that a pretentious opening or what? We read about the feast of Trimalchio. It's long, it's opulent, and precious.
It's a satire of the moires of the moment. But them, as we digest it, it's a little more than that. It's an Instagram of a moment in time. It's all about a monied class completely out of touch and, implicitly, about an empire grown top heavy with spoils.
I made today's Nose panelists go see Zero Dark Thirty, just to make sure we all had one controversy we could discuss.
That was before I realized how generous the week would be with controversy. The labyrinthine story of football player Manti Te'o and his imaginary girlfriend sneaked up on me. That's the fresh sports scandal making the wires buzz right now.
But last night's sit-down between Oprah Winfrey and Lance Armstrong breathed new life into an old sports scandal.
Here are the topics we'll be talking about on The Nose today.
First, the onset of the Awards Season, which seems to coordinate somehow with the onset of flu season. The Oscar nominations are out. The Golden Globes are handed out on Sunday, and there lots of other awards rattling around right now, many of them with the word "choice" in their names.
The movie awards are a little more meaty this year because three or four of the big films drag controversies along behind them.
It's been a noisy week in Lake Profanity. The Speaker of the House told the Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate to "go eff himself." Twice.
Glamour magazine ran, on its cover, the s-word with one letter asterisked out -- a practice writer Steve Rushin refers to as "obscene hangman." And the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a police officer cannot arrest you simply for giving him the finger.
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.
The story of the Islamic world uprising over a very stupid, cheesy and deliberately provocative movie is too vast to discuss on one show, but on "The Nose" today, we'll break off a little piece of it that is the movie itself, including all the people who worked on it and now claim not to know what it was.
Also on the topic list: elaborate marriage proposals, the latest one being the guy who faked his own gorey death. I give this union 18 months.
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.