The Nose

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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.

Chion Wolf

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.

Flickr Creative Commons, Generaal Gibson

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.

Flickr Creative Commons, jondejong

One of our themes today is the iron fist in the velvet glove. Or maybe, sometimes, it's the other way around.

Wikimedia Commons

We're going to be talking about Life of Pi on the Nose today, but let me get my two cents in ahead of time.

Flickr Creative Commons, Christian Cable

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.

Flickr Creative Commons, U.S. Army

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. 

It was not a typical week -- if there even is such a thing. The storm changed nearly every equation it blew through.  All of the political campaigns got a lot more tricky.

Flickr Creative Commons, NASA Earth Observatory

I think is going to be a pretty bad storm.

Chion Wolf

Here are a few things that happened this week in the presidential campaign.

Trust Al Gore to come up with an out-of-left-field and yet completely plausible explanation for something people have been discussing for two days.

giustina_ilyusha, Flickr Creative Commons

Isaac's Live Lip-Dub Proposal in Portland, Oregon

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.

 But wait, there's more!

Flickr Creative Commons, Jayel Aheram

One of the basic rules of showbiz is that you don't overshadow the star.

Flickr Creative Commons, pasukaru76

What's with all the fuss about the body of Paul Ryan?

Wikimedia Commons

American thinking about race has not caught up with American thinking about race.

Flickr Creative Commons, Bob Bekian

American identity is pretty fluid. Don't like who you are? Become someone else. 

Chion Wolf

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. 

Chion Wolf

After years of speculation, rumors, and whispers, we finally heard this week what we had long expected. The only problem is I can't tell whether I'm talking about the Higgs boson or Anderson Cooper.

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.

Flickr Creative Commons, The National Infantry Museum and Soldie

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.

Chion Wolf

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.

Chion Wolf

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.

Chion Wolf

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.

Trishhhh, Flickr Creative Commons

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 Nose: What Do Presidential Debates Accomplish?

Oct 28, 2011
Flickr Creative Commons, eschipul

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.

Flickr Creative Commons, david_shankbone

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.

gongus, wfyurasko, andrechinn, Flickr Creative Commons

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.

Mike Licht, Flickr Creative Commons

One pitfall a leader must avoid involves becoming a Charlie Brown or David Copperfield character. A person to whom things happen as opposed to a person who makes things befall others.