Warning: date() [function.date]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CST/-6.0/no DST' instead in /home/stlpub/public_html/includes/commentaryarchives.inc.php on line 2
The Real Information Age
Aired May 20, 2009
I have trouble keeping up with the new technology. Friends showed me how to text and Twitter. A fan made a Facebook page for me, then had to tell me how to get to it.
I'm not proud of my ignorance. It's just the way I work - or rather, don't work.
I used to feel bad. Now I realize I have another purpose. I can show people the beauty of the obsolete technology. Thanks to texting and email, we are finally able to equal the real information age.
A Spring Tradition
Aired April 08, 2009
No matter how late Easter came, no matter how many warm days we had in February and March, on Easter Sunday the temperature would drop at least thirty degrees. My new outfit would be hidden under a dark coat with one button hanging by a single thread.
Next Sunday would be bright and sunny and I could wear my outfit again. But it wasn't new any more.
A New Economic Stimulus Plan
Aired March 18, 2009
The billion dollar bailouts made many of us angry. Why was our money used to save banks, insurance companies other businesses we don't like?
We have companies we'd like to save, too. Cute, friendly businesses. If I had a billion dollars, they'd be first on my list.
I don't. But I'm not powerless. And neither are you.
Snow Panic in St. Louis
Aired February 18, 2009
St. Louis has had many changes. So it’s comforting that some things stay the same:
My hometown still panics at the threat of snow.
I said “threat.” The last time I was in St. Louis, I was at an event that night. About half the people didn’t show up – and they’d paid for their tickets. Maybe they were tired. Maybe they didn’t want to socialize.
But I think they were going through the usual snow panic.
Prime Time Excercize
Aired January 21, 2009
Don and I have been married 37 years. We still don’t have a TV. We do have a monitor and a CD player. If we want to watch a hot TV series, we wait a few months and get it on CD. We can check out other shows on the computer.
If I really want to watch TV, I go to my condo gym and turn on the TV while I’m on the treadmill.
A Relationship-Saving Idea for the Holiday
Aired December 17, 2008
The Saturday before Christmas is when shoppers really open their wallets and retailers see green.
Stores can also expect scattered shoppers and a light dusting of desperation on Wednesday, Dec. 24. Christmas Eve is when the most clueless shoppers rush into the stores. Many are men desperate to buy something, anything, to save their romances. Meanwhile, clueless women are buying men ugly ties, sensible sweaters and unwanted socks.
Here’s my advice to avoid those many unhappy returns.
The Day After...Thanksgiving
Aired November 19, 2008
The post-Thanksgiving Friday is a time to enjoy good food, quietly opening the ziplock bags and plastic containers to get to the meat of things.
Today you don’t have to worry about dropping Grandma’s wineglasses or chipping the heirloom china – they’ve been washed and put away. You can’t spill anything on the best linen tablecloth. It’s in the laundry.
Being Bob - Or Not
Aired October 15, 2008
I often wish I was a mechanic instead of a writer, so I could fix things. It would save me a lot of repair bills. Or maybe not.
St. Louis Cat
Aired September 17, 2008
Each city I’ve lived in has its own type of cat.
When Don and I were in Washington DC, the place was populated with lots of gray cats. South Florida is littered with tiger cats – brown cats with black stripes.
Is there a St. Louis cat?
St. Louis Ribs
Aired August 20, 2008
The Florida restaurant had St. Louis ribs on the menu. I had no idea our ribs were special.
I ordered St. Louis ribs and got a plate of plain old ribs with Texas toast. What was St. Louis about that?
It was time for some bone-deep research.
Flickering Dreams of Wealth
Aired July 16, 2008
The bugs had romance in their minds – adult fireflies have a lifespan of about ten days, and need to find a mate in that brief time.
My brothers and I saw gold in their romantic glow. We hoped fireflies would make us rich beyond our wildest dreams. We might even get five or six dollars.
Some Things Never Change
Aired June 18, 2008
But we didn’t just drive around. We also went drag racing on Hall Street.
Those days are gone, and the teen culture that went with it.
My friends say their teenagers can’t afford to drive around, burning sixty bucks worth of gas a night. Instead, the kids hang out at coffeeshops, bookstores or ice cream shops.
Aired May 21, 2008
I ran to the kitchen and turned off the stove, then answered the ringing phone. It was the condo security guard. “Ms. Viets, your smoke alarm just went off,” he said.
“Sorry. I was fixing lunch.”
Sorry certainly described the blackened mess in that pot. Kitchen ADD struck again.
Tourist Advice for St. Louis
Aired April 09, 2008
Recently, I stayed at a hotel near the St. Louis Convention Center. It was good to be home, but the city has some changes to make before it becomes a major tourist destination.
If St. Louis can fix its attitude problem before summer, it will do much better.
St. Louis - Helping Florida Discover It's Own Wildlife
Aired March 19, 2008
Bird watching is the second biggest leisure activity after gardening. Gardening was good enough for Beatle George Harrison. But now the Woodstock generation may wind up like Miss Jane on “The Beverly Hillbillies.”
Getting Ready for National Reading Month
Aired February 20, 2008
March is National Reading Month. It’s less than two weeks away. How are you going to celebrate?
Aired January 16, 2008
Aunt Emma is in the hospital for gall bladder surgery. Tom had a heart attack. Everyone seems to be sick, except you.
How do you help someone who’s in the hospital?
Herring, Silver Dollars and Tall, Dark Strangers
Aired December 31, 2007
At the stroke of midnight, Grandma swallowed pickled herring while she held a silver dollar in her hand.
Grandma was convinced this was the key to a prosperous New Year. She spent most of her life nearly broke, but she never changed her ritual. The New Year had to be heralded with herring and a silver dollar.
Grandma also believed the first person through the door January first set the tone for the whole year. A tall, dark-haired man was considered a sign of special good luck.
The year a tall, dark stranger showed up was especially lucky ï¿½ for him.
Christmas in Florida
Aired November 21, 2007
The first time I saw these poor southerners lining up to see fake snow, I felt sorry for them. They’d never shoveled mounds of snow off their Florida driveway – or chipped ice off their windshield.
They’d look at snow a whole new way after that. It’s not entertainment.
St. Louisans - Bad Party Leavers
Aired October 10, 2007
Outsiders think we’re wasting time.
Insiders know this is really the best part of the party.
New School Year Resolutions
Aired September 19, 2007
One day of the year is full of genuine hope.
It’s not January first.
Aired August 15, 2007
We lived in St. Ann in the 1950s, across from the main screen of the local drive-in movie. I could see it from my room.
I made up my own stories. Every night, I watched the soundless movies and wrote my own scripts.
The Perfect Tomato
Aired July 18, 2007
“One day I will catch the squirrel that is ruining my tomatoes. I’ll cook him and then I’ll only take one bite.”
Aired June 13, 2007
I’ve been saying this a lot lately and I need to say it more.
On April 10, I had surgery for a stroke.
I’m home now, and working my way through 400 emails and a giant shopping bag full of cards.
Last of the Lustrons
Aired May 16, 2007
When I was a kid in Florissant, I’d hang out at my friend Barb’s house. Barb’s family had an architecturally significant home – a Lustron house.
You could not change a Lustron house. That was its advantage – and its flaw. Houses are living things that grow and change with the family. Lustron houses couldn’t. They were practical, logical and efficient. But they weren’t homes as we know them.
Another Forking Commentary
Aired April 18, 2007
In New York, you could get a grant from the Museum of Modern Art for this.
But St. Louisans are generous. We fork for the sheer fun of it.
St. Louis Spring - Enjoy All Two Days!
Aired March 21, 2007
"What do you miss the most about St. Louis?", people ask me. What I miss most about St. Louis is spring. Living in the land of perpetual summer, I don’t see spring.
Enjoy the St. Louis spring. Both days, before summer hits.
Birdwatching's the New Boomer Interest
Aired February 21, 2007
The boomer interest in bird watching often starts in the dead of winter, when we put out a bird feeder with suet and seeds. First, we notice the little brown bird that’s adapted so well to St. Louis, the Eurasian tree sparrow. Next, we’re watching more colorful cardinals and blue jays.
Then we try to find a squirrel-proof feeder, which doesn’t exist.
A Cat Short
Aired February 00, 2007
Harry had handsome brown fur, black stripes and green eyes. He played with my purse strap, rubbed my hand, and rolled over for a scratch.
I rolled over, too. “Guess I’m ready for a new cat,” I said.
Ham and FHB
Aired January 17, 2007
My grandparents and their store are long gone. I can eat all the ham I want, any day of the week.
But I know it won’t be as good as Sunday ham – now that there’s no holding back.
Elaine Viets is a freelance writer.