This is all commentaries on WVPE including Friday's Michiana Chronicles Feature and occasional one-time contributors.

Heather Curlee-Novak

I have always considered myself a B+ pet owner.  I don’t follow the year round flea and tick treatment and I don’t have my dog’s teeth brushed by the vet under sedation.

Women Making History: Debie Coble

Mar 14, 2019

For Women’s History Month, 88.1 WVPE and Indiana University South Bend’s Women and Gender Studies program recognizes Michiana Women Making History.

Dr. Barbara Williams, a South Bend physician and sociologist, conducted several interviews with notable women in the community and we’re bringing you samplings of those conversations on Thursdays throughout March at 8:45 AM and 5:45 PM.

Tristan Savatier / Getty Images

Recently, work took me to Las Vegas, where I lodged at an off-strip hotel with a casino. I was there for a popular culture conference, and I found myself paying attention to the most popular activity in town. The casino, with its roulette wheels and blackjack tables, its keno screens, and its rows and rows of video slot machines, occupied a sprawling first floor. From the front lobby, you moved down to the Starbucks and then on to the gambling floor.

Women Making History: Charlotte Pfeifer

Mar 7, 2019

For Women’s History Month, 88.1 WVPE and Indiana University South Bend’s Women and Gender Studies program recognizes Michiana Women Making History.

Dr. Barbara Williams, a South Bend physician and sociologist, conducted several interviews with notable women in the community and we’ll bring you samplings of those conversations throughout March on Thursday mornings at 8:45 and Thursday afternoons at 5:45.

Maybe you remember Andy Rooney, an essayist and commentator on CBS’s 60 Minutes? There is no way that I can compete with his voluminous eyebrows, but I often feel akin to his grumpiness. He didn’t have that Eeyore kind of hangdog grumpiness. You know, the “I don’t know, but I don’t think that’s right . . . “ style.  Nooo, Rooney had a fire-in-the-belly, I’m-so-irritated kind of grumpiness that almost made his eyebrows flap in the stout wind generated by his ire. That’s my brand too: a fueled grumpiness. The kind that is fierce, judgmental and self-righteous.

Ken Smith

I came across a small, inspiring story this week, and then another, and another. I did not expect this. In our troubled times, with the climate rattling us up and down like a roller coaster we can’t get off, and politics pelting us like bad weather, I don’t often catch the aroma of fresh-baked inspiration. When I do, I slow down to take a look. First I noticed a page-long chapter in a memoir* by James Rebanks, a quiet episode where at the age of 17 he decided not to buy the car he’d been saving for. Interesting!

April Lidinsky

Today, please open your English Major Handbook to the page titled: objective correlative. As you no doubt remember, that’s a literary term for objects that represent emotions in written or visual texts. You know, in a movie, we might see a teacup smashing to the floor as a sign that the character’s hopes have just been dashed.  I’ve been living with an objective correlative for most of the past year, when I got stuck halfway through repainting our kitchen.  

Michiana Chronicles: Pete's Book

Feb 8, 2019
Pete for America

At the end of the long paperwork process that put South Bend Mayor Peter Paul Montgomery Buttigieg into the Navy, the induction officer, says, “You said you work for the city, right?”

“That’s right,” Pete says, without adding that he’s the boss.  

Is your employer supportive?

“Yes, everyone has been great.”

Put in for the employer service support award when you get home, he says to Pete. Elected officials always come to the ceremony.

“They just eat that (shit) up.”

Andrew Kreider

We have a lot of speakers in the theater.  Not the lecturing, human kind (although we get our share of those, too).

Joe Chaney

Recently I promised to give a poetry reading with the stated plan of dividing my recitation between poems about dogs and poems about cats. I’d thought I’d written plenty of poems about both, but when I began to list them, I noticed that my cat poems merely mentioned cats. Cats were images and ideas. They figured as symbols. The poems weren’t about the cats, and the cats weren’t characters. They never did anything interesting.

The dog poems did fit the bill. Here is a typical one, called “Bali Dog”:

Bali Dog

We were lost among rice fields near Ubud

Jeanette Saddler-Taylor

Often in these minutes, I relate light-hearted things. Not so much today. In the cold of the New Year, refugees are on my mind.

Ken Smith

I confess, I was seated at my mother’s dining room table not far from a big tin of Christmas cookies. There were tell-tale shortbread crumbs near me on the purple tablecloth, and a bottomless cup of coffee. From the living room TV came the muffled thunder of volume-turned-low Ghosts of Christmas Past, then Present, then Future, each one Hollywood made wilder that the last, but I ignored them. Much more interesting spirits were spread around us on the table. Not the cookies. We were sorting through a big box of family photos.

April Lidinsky

By the time you’re a grown up  — and woe betide you if that’s all you’re aiming for — it’s pretty easy to stick with what you already know. When I was in a funk about just that state of being earlier this year, my clever friend, Rosie, offered me a book that I in turn offer to you. It’s titled, Life Reimagined: The Science, Art, and Opportunity of Midlife by Barbara Bradley Hagerty —an NPR name, for you longtime listeners. Among the book’s takeaways for “living exuberantly” is this gem: “At every stage of life, you should be a rookie at something.” It’s timely advice for the new year.

My Private Concert

Dec 26, 2018

When I went to my grandson Jackson’s third grade holiday concert, so did about a thousand other people, which was way more than the school’s auditorium could hold. All the seats were full of mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters and grandmothers and grandfathers and stepparents and extended families. There was no room at the concert, so to speak, so I went home.

I was bummed. And a little put out.  I thought, I’ve been picking him up after school on choir practice days for two months now, and I don’t get to hear him sing?

Michiana Chronicles: Napoleon Orwell

Dec 21, 2018

Once a month I meet with my retired teacher colleagues from New Prairie High School for breakfast and it’s like heaven for me. We’ve crossed over into the other side and our friends are there, the lucky ones who made it into the land of milk and honey, French toast and bacon for five bucks, that is the senior menu at Manny’s Café.