Author Archives: Colin McEnroe

The Doughnut Inn Used to Be Tres Gentil

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But now you get screamed at for an innocent error. (This is why you should never talk to anybody.)

…one local inquisitive 4-year-old boy asked a question that got him banned from a Monroe doughnut shop.

“We were screamed at in front of the door, ‘he’s not allowed in here, he’s rude’,” said Rebecca Denham as she described her experience at the Doughnut Inn on Tuesday morning.

Denham said her son, Justin Otero, asked a woman at the doughnut shop if she had a baby in her belly.

When the woman said ‘No’ Otero apologized, and his mother said she was mortified.

Looking Forward to Fats Domino for Penny Bacchiochi

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Chubby Checker, stumping in Middletown.

It’s that decades-long friendship with Middletown Board of Education member Linda Szynkowicz that’s bringing singer-songwriter Chubby Checker to Middletown for a meet and greet Republican fundraiser Wednesday at the Italian Society…Checker’s appearance is to supportSzynkowicz’s bid to unseat longtime Democratic state legislator Rep. Joseph Serra in the 33rd District this November.

What’s on the Colin McEnroe Show Next Week?

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RWE, circa 1872, via Wikimedia Commons

RWE, circa 1872, via Wikimedia Commons

“In this refulgent summer, it has been a luxury to draw the breath of life. The grass grows, the buds burst, the meadow is spotted with fire and gold in the tint of flowers. The air is full of birds, and sweet with the breath of the pine, the balm-of-Gilead, and the new hay. Night brings no gloom to the heart with its welcome shade. Through the transparent darkness the stars pour their almost spiritual rays. Man under them seems a young child, and his huge globe a toy. The cool night bathes the world as with a river, and prepares his eyes again for the crimson dawn. The mystery of nature was never displayed more happily. The corn and the wine have been freely dealt to all creatures, and the never-broken silence with which the old bounty goes forward, has not yielded yet one word of explanation. One is constrained to respect the perfection of this world, in which our senses converse.”

 

That is, of course, the beginning to Emerson’s Harvard Divinity School commencement address.  Did you know that only seven people were graduating? And that one of them blew off commencement? Six people! Some of the greatest prose ever spoken on U.S. soil.  Oh well.

 

That has nothing to do with any of our shows this week, but it’s good for all of us, in the summer, to revisit RWE’s words.

 

MONDAY:  Amanda Marcotte is one of Slate.com’s top writers. She thinks Bill Maher is gross, which is a promising bit of common ground, if you know what I mean. She’ll be our first guest of the day on the Scramble. She has written recently on the humanitarian crisis on the U.S. Border, as have I, so I’m guessing we may talk about that.  And we’re devoting the other two segments of our show to a discussion of Connecticut’s refusal to participate in sheltering the young refugees. Emerson, in his speech, was admirably lucid about this kind of thing: “Good is positive. Evil is merely privative, not absolute: it is like cold, which is the privation of heat. All evil is so much death or nonentity. Benevolence is absolute and real.”

 

TUESDAY: Emerson ended his speech with these words: “Can’t you taste this gold? Remember my name. ‘Bout to blow.” No, he did not. I was just testing whether you were paying attention. Those are words from “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea, which is the current leading contender for the Song of The Summer. Our music mavens Wally Lamb (yes, that Wally Lamb), Eric Danton and Joan Holiday will be on the case — noses slightly wrinkled — as we sort out whether any other song can overthrow Iggy. Critic Amanda Dobbins laid out the task quite clearly: “There is no such thing as a ?personal? song of summer. We do not anoint multiple songs of summer. There can only be one; the Song of Summer, by its very definition, is a consensus choice. It is the song that wrecks wedding dance floors. It is the song that you and your mother begrudgingly agree on (even though your mom has no idea what rhymes with ?hug me? and won’t stop yelling it in public.) It does not necessarily have to hit No. 1 on the charts, but it should probably be on the charts, because it must be widely played. It must bring people together. It must be a shared enthusiasm.”

 

WEDNESDAY: There was never any question about Emerson’s middle name. Where’s Waldo? Right between the Ralph and the Emerson. And Henry David Thoreau. Amos Bronson Alcott. Transcendentalists were big on middle names. One of the later Transcendentalists was named Octavius Brooks Frothingham. What do you think about that? We’re doing a whole show about middle names. Abraham Lincoln did not have one, but most people of his era did. A recent essay on the New York Times suggested that middle initials, anyway, are falling out of favor. But that’s just one element of our journey into interstitial onomastics.

 

THURSDAY: There is something entirely mysterious about our relationship with stuffed animals and other stuffed toys. From the Steiff bear to the (Connecticut-bred) Cabbage Patch Kid, modern children have embraced stuffed creatures; and when, in the words of Paul, it came time “to put away childish things,” we have often found it difficult to do so. Isn’t that right, Bobo? Sorry, I was talking to my plush ocelot. Been with me since law school. We’ll explore the allure of these transitional objects, and even speak with a “travel agent” in Japan who books trips around the Floating Kingdom for stuffed toys. I don’t really know what RWE would have said about teddy bears, etc. They might have struck him as some kind of link to our polytheistic, pre-Christian past.  “I’d rather be a pagan suckl’d in a creed outworn,” wrote Wordsworth, “than give up Captain Nuzzles” (who scholars believe was a kind of velveteen dolphin).

 

FRIDAY. Oh my goodness, is the week ending already?  This show will be The Nose, our weekly roundtable about things that arose in Culture during the week.  To know its topics today would be to peer into the future, as Emerson attempted to do at the end of his address: “I look for the new Teacher, that shall follow so far those shining laws, that he shall see them come full circle; shall see their rounding complete grace; shall see the world to be the mirror of the soul; shall see the identity of the law of gravitation with purity of heart; and shall show that the Ought, that Duty, is one thing with Science, with Beauty, and with Joy.” So that could happen, right?

 

Final thoughts: I could really imagine Emerson saying, “Can’t you taste this gold?” but meaning the divine energy that pervades the corn and the wine. And the notion of someone named Iggy Azalea would have, at minimum, drawn him forward, as opposed to pushing him away.

Congratulations, Governor, You Got the Morality AND the Politics Wrong

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Dunce (7885704332)
When the federal government asked Connecticut if it could use the old Southbury Training School to house, temporarily, 2,000 Central American refugee /migrant kids, the answer was no.

My column this week addresses the morality of this.

Now let’s look at the politics. Somebody in his campaign surely told Malloy he’d get beaten up if he took the kids. So what about that?

a. At this point in the race, he gets beaten up either way. Yesterday in their debate, his Republican opponents Tom Foley and John McKinney discovered their inner Jane Fondas and took whacks at Malloy for NOT housing the kids.

b. It somehow looks even worse with Deval Patrick stepping up to help. 

c. It could have been framed neatly. Connecticut was offered federal money to fix up a bad building and then care for these kids.  That’s jobs, jobs, jobs. Malloy could have made Connecticut jobs part of the deal.

d. At minimum, Malloy could have said, “Look, Southbury is falling down, but we do want to help. I’ve got people inventorying all the space, public and private, we do have. Let’s work something out.”

e. In another close election, he needs the Latino vote. Big time. Think he helped himself with this?

 

My Unprintable Elaine Stritch Story (Which I Am Publishing Anyway)

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Elaine Stritch 2 2009
[By Greg Hernandez (Greg in Hollywood) (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]

In the summer of 2008, my last year at WTIC, two great ladies of the stage passed through my studio. The first of these was Shirley Jones.

In those days, my mixed breed — call him a chowbrador — dog Malcolm came to work with me every day and slept in the studio, ignoring pretty much everybody. (Lowell Weicker: “McEnroe, why won’t your dog come over to me?”) The lone exception was basketball legend Rebecca Lobo who seemed to awaken in Malcolm a set of drives that he is surgically unable to act on. Maybe it’s her name.

Anyway, Shirley Jones was 74 at the time, and if she smelled anything like Rebecca Lobo, I could have had a terrible incident on my hands, so I decided to put Malcolm out in the car with the windows open under a shady tree, at least until I could scope out the situation.

It turned out Shirley Jones is a dog person and a PETA person to boot, so I had played the whole thing wrong.

A very short time later, Stritch was in town, trying out her “At Liberty” revue at Hartford Stage and running her local handlers ragged with complicated Starbucks requests whose execution never seemed to make her happy. She was otherwise delightful, and, as I escorted her into the studio, I explained who Malcolm was and why he was there. I told her the story of exiling Malcolm to protect Shirley Jones only to find out it was completely the wrong thing to do.  I told Stritch if she had any qualms about the dog I would instantly bring him out to the …

“Fuck Shirley Jones! My money’s on Malcolm,” La Stritch said gamely and cheerfully.  I’m not even sure exactly what that meant, but the overall sentiment of it was clear.

I am pleased to report that Malcolm is still alive. He’s a few months into his fifteenth year which means that, like Stritch, he has busted through the actuarial tables and that his reunion with her is inevitable and imminent.  He does pretty well most of the time, but traversing the space between the first and second floors of our house has become the equivalent of a K2 trek for him.

His friend Elaine used to open her London shows with the line, “As the prostitute once said, its not the work; it’s the stairs.”

 

We have named our police officers in such a way as to mess with your big stupid pot-addled head

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From this:

WEST HARTFORD — A 28-year-old man was arrested Monday morning after police conducting a search of his house allegedly found 46 marijuana plants.

Police said they obtained a search warrant for 848 Flatbush Ave. after receiving several anonymous tips concerning the address.

Officers executed the warrant at that address on Monday morning and discovered “a mid-level marijuana grow operation,” Lt. Ted Stoneburner said.

This week on the CMS

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Monday:

The Scramble welcomes SuperGuest Stephen Dubner of Freakonomics Radio!

Also, a look back at this weekend’s Tony Awards with Frank Rizzo, who writes about theater for the Hartford Courant in his blog, “Behind The Curtain”. Last, the New Britain Rock Cats move is rockin’ the state and the vibrations are strong between New Britain and Hartford. Andrew Zimbalist, Professor of Economics at Smith College, and an expert on the business of sports, takes a cold, hard look.

 

Tuesday:Flag_of_Canada.svg

What makes Canadian humor so funny, ‘eh? On this show, we’ll go beyond the polite accent and discover why Canadians think they’re so funny, how they stack up against American wit, and who has paved the way for Canadian humorists who are making audiences laugh today.

 

Wednesday:

In February, President Obama said helping black men succeed is “a moral issue for our country,” and challenged everyone to do more than we’re doing now. He also tells black men to do for themselves, and not make excuses or blame society for their failures. To that end, he launched a $200 million, 5-year  initiative he’s calling, My Brother’s Keeper. But, Erik Clemons, president of Connecticut Center for Arts and Technology in New Haven, says he can’t get  much traction against the forces that keep pushing black men back down and he wants an honest conversation about why. Ta Na Hesi Coates says helping blacks succeed is a whole lot more complicated than telling them to pick themselves up by their boot straps. Read what he says here and then come listen to our show.

 

Thursday:

 Simonetti - Rothaarige Frau öffnet gespannt den Liebesbrief

A.R. Gurney donated his iconic play “Love Letters” to Connecticut-based Greenwoods Counseling Referrals so they could provide more mental health counseling to those in need. The play will star James Earl Jones and be performed at the Warner Theater in Torrington on June 27. (Don’t forget to buy tickets.) This got us thinking. Wouldn’t it be great to have A.R. “Pete” Gurney talk to us about his career as a novelist and playwright and maybe find a few other people using letters as a literary device. So, that’s what we’re doing.

 

Friday:

The Nose gathers ‘round some microphones and discusses all the talk-worthy, interesting, controversial, funny, outstanding news of the week. Call in early and often!