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Joe Chaney

Michiana Chronicler

Joe Chaney is a poet living quietly in South Bend. He is director of the Master of Liberal Studies Program, an interdisciplinary degree for community leaders, life-long learners, public intellectuals, and people with a range of academic ambitions, at IU South Bend. Whenever possible, he travels to far-away places.

Commentary
7:37 am
Fri October 31, 2014

Our Masquerade

Judging just by its economic impact, Halloween is the second-most popular holiday in the U.S. It's the day when you get to be someone else, and that someone indulges in sweets of all kinds without any concern for the consequences. Perfectly respectable citizens dress as ghouls and turn their front lawns into graveyards, playgrounds for ghosts and devils, and bloody crime scenes. On Halloween we get to try on a different role, perhaps becoming what we secretly wish we could be, in a world without real consequences.

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Commentary
7:56 am
Fri September 5, 2014

It Was Nothing

Amid so much news of international conflict and human loss (Ferguson, Missouri; the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; civil wars in Ukraine, Libya, Syria, and Iraq), Americans were heartened this morning to learn that peace had returned to the houses of Salisbury and Derby with the sudden resolution Thursday of a misunderstanding between Thomas Montagu, Earl of Salisbury and Frederick Stanley, Earl of Derby. Addressing Lord Derby, Lord Salisbury wrote:

Dear sir,

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Commentary
7:30 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Cabin Pressure

The obesity epidemic became more real to me during my travels last weekend. My return flight was fully booked, and I boarded late only to discover that my seat was already partly occupied by the bulging left side of an especially large man. Although he sat with his arms tightly crossed, his side and shoulders swelled well beyond the invisible frame marked by the armrest. His leg extended at a sharp angle onto my seat. I’m not a big man, but airplane seats are narrow enough these days that I wasn’t able to place my back squarely against the seat back.

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Commentary
7:30 am
Fri May 30, 2014

Looking for the Grand Kankakee

Last week, my wife and I, feeling restless in South Bend, took a self-guided tour of the natural history of our region. We wanted to see the remaining local traces of the Grand Kankakee Marsh, the wetland that once dominated Northern Indiana the way the Everglades still dominate South Florida. Today the Kankakee River is almost invisible. It is a series of small canals (drainage ditches, really) running southwest from the “cooling pond” at the old ethanol plant.

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Commentary
7:30 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Sugar Camp Days

Ah, the sweetness of springtime! The almost-budding trees! The slowly warming air! And, warmest of all, the pancakes! There’s nothing like a pancake breakfast to get you through the final frosty days. For people who want to confront this problem head-on, there’s “Sugar Camp Days” at Bendix Woods County Park.

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