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

Downtown Dancing and Fireworks

It was just the two of us this time, more or less empty-nesters, with beach chairs slung over our shoulders walking toward downtown, heading for the fireworks. We can see them in miniature from our front yard, but once in a while we go see them up close, the full sound and fury. In Howard Park, people were setting out blankets and lawn chairs on the grassy slope down to the river, but we craved the maximum experience, as close as we could get.

In this summer of politics going to heck in a hand basket, I want to offer a defense — of expertise.  Who knew we’d need to say it … and yet, here we are, with sincere folks on both sides of the Atlantic spurning the experts, spurning facts, even.  One critic of the Brexit vote Tweeted: “We now live in a “post-factual democracy; when the facts met the myths, they were as useless as bullets bouncing off the bodies of aliens in an H.G. Wells novel.” 

"Uncle Wally"

Jun 24, 2016

I’m at “The Cove, ” home of the South Bend White Sox, on a Saturday afternoon 26 years ago, when I happen upon the pitching of Uncle Wally.

I’m out of the sun because my seat was too hot for my bare legs

Right after the national anthem, eight people mosey down my aisle. I see a grandma and grandpa, their daughter and her husband, three kids, and a young woman. The older ones make sure the younger ones’ seat numbers match their tickets and they remain in their seats, across the aisle and two rows away from my shade, as the temperature passes 90.

I am embarrassed to admit this, but I am spoiled. Spoiled rotten and maybe a skosh lazy.  And again, pampered and spoiled.  Our front door is to blame for this revelation.  We live in a lovely little bungalow from 1920 and all of the things do not work all of the time.  This front door of ours actually still has the original doorknob and skeleton key slot.  It is quite the physical challenge to close it, involving several slammings and a hopping leg dance to get the key to slide the deadbolt.

"Temples and Shrines"

Jun 10, 2016

    Temples and Shrines

This call may be recorded

For the record, I like foreigners.  But it’s been forty-five minutes now.  I certainly hope they are recording this call for training purposes.  But more likely the HR department is just saving it to replay later over drinks. 


“Bad decisions make good stories.” Not so long ago, my son, Joseph, said that to me. I’m sure that he mentioned it regarding some personal incident, but it turns out that it can work for public policy too. Thus, I’m going to muscle my way onto turf that usually is held by my co-Michiana Chronicler, April Lidinsky: Women’s Issues—except this topic really is an Everybody Issue. My apologies for the encroachment, April.

"Freedom Summer"

May 20, 2016


According to some crazy expert at the London Philharmonic, the graduation march, otherwise known as Pomp and Circumstance, is one of the fifty greatest pieces of classical music. Seems to me it’s one of humanity’s fifty greatest sleep-aids. But you be the judge: (Music.) Please, turn that thing off! Thank you. See what I mean? Graduation is supposed to be a happy occasion. People have accomplished something, we’re trying to have a celebration here. Come on!

Well, Indiana has had its moment of political glory — serving as the iceberg that sank Ted Cruz’s ship.   Despite the ugliness, this political season has had an upside — reminding seasoned voters how exciting it is to be new to voting and crazy in love with your candidate.

Creating Habitat

Apr 29, 2016

On a cold Wednesday night this month, on a drive home from open mic night at Wild Rose Moon in Plymouth, I pondered a clear-eyed interpretation of “You Are My Sunshine.” Chad Fletcher, a stocky guy in black knee shorts, with a guitar, big arm tattoos, and a goatee, got me to hear the song like it was brand new, and forced me to wipe away a tear.  Wow, that was good. 

    Sweet Spring Swing

By Heather Curlee Novak

Spring is now here and those fresh, balmy mornings on my tiny front porch have begun.  We often eat breakfast on the front porch and dinner on the backyard patio. Being outside is so enjoyable, especially after that endless winter!  With these warm Spring days we just drift outside to enjoy the sunshine.

How to Make America Great

The drama of presidential politics has overwhelmed the country this year, giving rise to the hope or fear that one candidate or another can single-handedly transform American society. Some look for a savior. Their opponents fear a dictatorship, because tearing up the Constitution would seem to be the only way to realize the dream of a final solution to our woes.


    We’re learning to speak French at our house.  Or, rather, we’re learning to speak French-ly.  

Bartenders and Hair Tenders: True Confessions


Fat Tuesday found me draped across a barstool while wonderful Wally “set ‘em up” as my pre-penitential push for partying unfolded in downtown South Bend. A band of revelers came in, handed out beads and headed back into the snowy South Bend darkness while I continued to stave off  thoughts of the rigors of the coming Lenten season by doing elbow bends and yuking it up with Wally.