I'm one of those odd people who still gets physical newspapers thrown into his driveway.
On Monday, I was paging trough the New York Times and came upon Angelina Jolie's now-famous essay about her decision to have her breasts removed preventively, after learning of her high genetic risk factor for beast cancer. I had the odd sensation of looking at my laptop on a nearby table and knowing that, inside it, a massive cyber-conversation was unfolding.
It has been widely reported -- but not heavily discussed -- that Charles and David Koch are the leading suitors to buy the eight newspapers belonging to the Tribune Company. One of those eight newspapers is the Hartford Courant.
We had a big menu of things we could talk about on The Nose this week, but there was no possibility we weren't going to tackle "Accidental Racist,' the collaboration between country star Brad Paisely and rap star LL Cool J, mainly because of all the heat and light this song as generated among journalists and critics.
On the Nose today: Have you seen so many post apocalyptic movies and read so many books like "The Road" and those Justin Cronin novels, that you're almost too exhausted to participate in your actual dystopian future?
We're doing something a little unusual on The Nose today. We're spending pretty much the whole show on one topic -- transgressive humor.
I've been thinking a lot about this lately, and the subject came to a boil last weekend when Seth MacFarlane, who specializes in tasteless and sophomoric material, hosted the Oscars and gave the international audience a heaping dose of what he's known for.
So what kind of Oscar year is this? One in which two best picture nominees have been criticized by members of Congress for their inaccuracies. The dust-up between Connecticut Congressman Joe Courtney and screenwriter Tony Kushner is the more benign. Courtney asked director Stephen Spielberg to re-edit the film before it goes to DVD. He's concerned that classroom use of the film will pass along an untruth -- that two members of the Connecticut delegation voted against ratification of the 13th Amendment. Kushner, a mensch in my personal experience, has been surprisingly testy.
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.