Commentary

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

As schools begin the academic year and the shank of the summer road-trip season ends, I look at my faithful steed with happy memories. (Do you name your cars? Larry and I do; I think that it has more than a little to do with America’s love affair with the automobile.  Hence, we plaster our attached garages onto the front of our homes and, in essence, keep our cars in the house with us. That being so, why wouldn’t we name our cars?)  The Pod, our green Prius, habitually provides adventures both quick and lengthy, and we do love and pamper it like a family member.

Matt Farnsworth

It’s late in the night and a train is hammering down the rails only a block from my home in River Park. Some neighbors are bothered by the locomotive horns blowing for the crossings, but I love them, even when they wake me in the night. That lonely sound puts me in mind of songs I sing—Milwaukee Blues, Midnight Special, 500 Miles, almost like a greeting from the pages of history.

April Lidinsky

I know it’s cliché in these banana republic days in the U.S. to plan an escape to Canada, but last month, I did just that. As I packed my carry-on, I daydreamed about running into Justin Trudeau and Samantha Bee.  Maybe we’d lounge around on a chesterfield, eating butter tarts and talking politics and feminism …. I know. More clichés and some crushes. Sorry.

It’s curious, isn’t it, to remember a moment of silence in a college classroom nearly forty years later? To recall what took place during that silence, something of the words that were spoken next, and the young man who spoke them. He was an international student studying for a bachelor’s degree here in the Midwest, and he remains a ghostly presence in my mind. When his homeland is in the news, as it has been in many sad, even brutal circumstances over the years, I remember him.

Ken Smith

It was likely the harshest six-word movie review I will ever hear, and it came from the slender, grandfatherly gentleman who walked out of the theater ahead of me. Behind us in the dim cavern the credits were still scrolling up the front wall, but here in the westward-facing lobby the evening sun glared in our faces. His white-haired friend pushed through the doors into the summery air, saying, “That was pretty good,” but I heard a question in her voice. As he followed her out I caught his matter-of-fact, but crushing six-word reply. “She took too long to die.”

When I'm Sixty-four

Jul 21, 2017

I’m turning 64 next week. It’s an age I’ve given more thought to than most, because of the Beatle song, “When I’m Sixty-Four.” You know, “When I get older losing my hair many years from now,” that song that I’ve been hearing since I was 14. That future, that seemed so far away, not that long ago, that’s next week.           

My grandfather was 64 the year I was born.       

Go Go Swallows!

Jul 14, 2017

My dream came true this summer when I got to attend a Japanese baseball game in Tokyo on a student “free day” during an overseas study program I co-directed with my Japanese colleague Yoshiko Green. I wanted to know how the quintessentially American game translates to Japanese culture. In the States, baseball reflects our individualism and our obsession with measurement. It’s a team sport in which individual players determine outcomes in a direct way – unlike football or basketball, in which the whole team executes coordinated “plays” and every player’s motion counts.

Water Wars

Jul 7, 2017
Heather Curlee-Novak

My family went to war this week with a neighboring house.

Car Donation

Jun 30, 2017
Andrew Kreider

So what exactly happens when you donate your car to Public Radio?  Like you, I had heard the heart-warming promo spots during Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Tales of beloved pickup trucks or hard-working family ox-carts, banged-up, french fried, and loved to death, finally put out to pasture for a good cause. The owners always sounded so wistful, yet so happy - finding an uplifting way to be shot of an old rust-heap they had loved for too long. How perfect.

Lying

Jun 23, 2017

“Liar, Liar, pants on fire!” Certainly you never shouted that as a child. You just heard other, naughty, less-well-brought-up children sing-songing it. Then, as a very cool adolescent, you never called anyone a “Lying sack of . . . “ Substitute “excrement” as a fill-in here, as I’m not sure that I am allowed to say the real word on the radio, but I’m betting that you’ve heard it and can mentally do the fill-in.

Yes, I know they have been employed as a medicine-a tonic-since time immemorial. Yes, I know they are more nutritious than many of the vegetables I grow. Yes, I know people used to clear away the grass to give them more room to thrive. Yes, I know the poets extol their virtue.

Monica Tetzlaff

Finally, school is out, and it’s pleasure-reading season!  We’re celebrating at our house by launching a Little Free Library in our front yard. Like an excellent book, our experience has already held suspense, plot twists, and even inspired some tough self-reflection.

It’s curious, isn’t it, to remember a moment of silence in a college classroom nearly forty years later? To recall what took place during that silence, something of the words that were spoken next, and the young man who spoke them. He was an international student studying for a bachelor’s degree here in the Midwest, and he remains a ghostly presence in my mind. When his homeland is in the news, as it has been in many sad, even brutal circumstances over the years, I remember him.

Commencement at Notre Dame

May 26, 2017
Sid Shroyer

The last time I attended a Notre Dame commencement was also as a reporter, in 1981, inside the A-C-C, and President Ronald Reagan was the honored guest. It was his first trip out of Washington after he was shot and the mood was warm. He delivered a broad, philosophically conservative message, but the speech was a talk, humane, and his presence belied his reputation as an ideologue.

Andrew Kreider

Evelyn Kreider was my grandmother.  When she died earlier this month, she was 102 years old.  She was a remarkable woman, a devoted listener to WVPE and possibly the most passionate critic, for good and ill, of my work on Michiana Chronicles.  She will be missed.

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