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

“My little body is aweary of this great world.” Portia blurts that out early on in “The Merchant of Venice,” and it’s one of my favorite Shakespeare quotes. Being something of a blurter myself, I empathize with both her method of expression and her sentiment. Frankly, I’m disgusted with having to be in this mood though. Here it is spring; life should be full of beauty and promise, but my mood is one of a great big whine: a spring-slump.

The OpEd Project

Question: How do you know for sure if yours is a bonafide nerd family? Answer: When 3 out of 4 of you are either college students or teachers, and 4 out of 4 of you happily spend the first day of Spring Break inside a classroom. Specifically, we sat in a seminar room above the Goodman Theater in Chicago with late-winter sunshine pouring through the plate glass windows while we began to wrestle our ideas into column-length arguments suitable for publication.

Ken Smith

In the long echoing hallway between the O’Hare parking ramp and the airport terminal, a busking violinist’s sweet melody amplified my hopeful mood, so I dropped a little bigger bill than usual into his instrument case, for the karma. Upstairs, our guest writer and I shook hands, two strangers squarely on a first-name basis, James and Ken. It slowly dawned on me that the two of us were launching into an old-fashioned American road trip, just like in the movies. Only we didn’t rob any banks.


Save the Last Dance for Me

Mar 2, 2018
Sid Shroyer

It would take more than two days of driveway shoveling and the snow piled up around South Bend Riley High School last month to keep my friend, Terry, and me, and three thousand other people, out of the gym for the Saturday evening basketball game between two of the best teams in the state of Indiana. I had anticipated a great game and, sure enough, the start of the fourth quarter, had me thinking, “Man, I hate to see this thing get over.’

Tony Krabill

Before the winter weather hit, my wife and I were deeply into the quest of finding a new house. Nothing is forcing us to move. Maybe we’re driven partly by consumerist urges. Clicking through online photos of dens and kitchens and sunrooms and backyards, we were looking for the right combination of features. We were patient shoppers. With each day we were getting a better sense of what we wanted, but as we clarified our goals, the flaws of particular homes seemed more significant, causing us to hesitate.

Chinese Acrobats

Feb 16, 2018
Andrew Kreider

The Chinese acrobats come tumbling out of their two mini vans, laughing and teasing each other as they carry their equipment onto the stage.  By the measure of some of the troupes we’ve seen at the theater, these guys are a bit older, but they’re still mostly teenagers.  Through the door comes a tall stool, a high wire, a unicycle, various sized rings, plates, sticks, straw hats, giant yo-yos, and what looks like an oversized teeter-totter board.  Then behind the stage equipment comes the kitchen supplies.  Two rice cookers you might buy at any department store, and a large electric wok, to

18 for 2018

Feb 9, 2018
Heather Curlee-Novak

So…we have this shiny new year.  We are only a little bit into this 2018 and we hold our breath against the anguishes we knew in 2017.  We pray and we hope and we cast spells or throw dishes or journal until there are no pages left.  Good people we know die.  Others experience pain so rocking and deep we cannot even.  We do not know what to say, or do or…we sit like Job’s friends around them in silence, just being there. Or we avoid them.  Sometimes we wish we could avoid ourselves.

“Well, it's Groundhog Day... again.” Yes, you guessed it: as well as being a fact today, it’s also a quote from the movie, Groundhog Day. Apparently, many folks watch this movie every year. Larry’s and my friends, Linda and Joe, do. And, when they learned that we had never seen it—apparently some of the last people in America to be in that predicament—they  generously lent it to us. So, in the name of research for this Michiana Chronicle, we, along with our also-still-living-in-a-cave friend, Patsy, sat down for our maiden voyage.

One Last Time with David James

Jan 26, 2018

The Michiana Chronicles family has lost one of its own. David James died Saturday, Jan. 20. He was 71. David was a community activist, IU South Bend adjunct faculty, and nationally awarded musician on the hammered dulcimer. His fellow Michiana Chroniclers and WVPE staff feel the best way to pay David tribute is to share his full voice one last time. Here he talks about a snowy Christmas journey.

Christmas Eve, 1971  originally aired Friday, January 15, 2010

We Built This

Jan 19, 2018
James Rebanks

Long ago, when we’d drive around town, my grandfather would sometimes point to a particular highway bridge and say, “I built that.” And he wasn’t kidding. He and his crew of carpenters built the wooden forms that molded the poured concrete into sturdy bridge pillars. When I drive over that bridge today, I think of his proud words, “I built that.”

April Lidinsky

So …. how are those New Year’s resolutions coming along? After an enraging political year full of marching and hollering myself hoarse, I’ve been trying something new — shutting up and listening.

The Old House

Jan 5, 2018
Sid Shroyer

This weather reminds me of the “old house.” The “old house” was where we lived while, after work and on weekends, Dad was building the “new house” in the backyard. Then, and mostly since, that was the time in my life when I couldn’t wait to get out of that old house.

On Formality

Dec 29, 2017

My resolution for the new year is to become more formal. As a professor, I have to decide whether my students should call me Professor Chaney, Dr. Chaney, or just plain Joe. My bias has been toward informality. I came up in the profession in California, where informality is the rule, and when I first arrived at IU South Bend, many of my students were actually older than I. There were many non-traditional students in those days. Now my students are much younger, and they seem to need and want the formal distance, along with the idealism that it can foster.

What would it be like if, at this time of the year, instead of sending each other greeting cards, we were to send each other poems?

In the early 20th century the publisher Faber and Gwyer decided to do exactly that -  commissioning a series of poems from famous writers, to send out in lieu of a Christmas Card.  These poems, the Ariel Poems as they became known, each in its own illustrated pamphlet, numbered thirty-eight in total, appearing from 1927 to 1931.  A generation later, in 1954 a further series of eight poems was released by Faber and Faber.  Each pamphlet is a gem.   

Kid Camping

Dec 15, 2017
Heather Curlee-Novak

With all the monstrous highs and lows for Americans these days, here is a crazy truth about our world: There is snow on the ground and people are camping in it for fun.  You know, canvas tent-sleeping bag-peeing outside-heating up coffee on a firepit, camping.  A local Boy Scout troop was snow camping just last weekend and my husband has shared a few stories about snow camping, but I do not see the appeal.