2013 Spring

Pittsburgh Quarterly Archives

2013 Spring

Keep the home fires burning?

In our yard, there’s no shortage of trees that old age or wind bring crashing back to earth. I cut and split this wood the old-​fashioned way — with a wedge and a sledge. And as the old adage goes, “He who chops his own wood warms himself twice.” I work at…

Stocks & Pedestal

This summer, when Jared Cohon retires from the presidency of Carnegie Mellon University, he will leave enormous shoes to fill.

Van Wyk, Hackler, McAllister-​Lucas, Behler, Dalling

Steven Van Wyk is head of operations and technology at PNC Financial Services Group. He succeeds Tom Whitford, who will retire in March. A native of Iowa, Van Wyk comes to Pittsburgh from Amsterdam, where he was global chief operating officer for ING. Previously, he held several positions at Morgan…

David McCullough, Author, Narrator, Historian & Lecturer

When he was about 15 or so and was reading about writers and their lives, one of my sons turned to me one evening and said, “Dad, I don’t think you’re ever going to be a really great writer.” “Why is that?” I asked him. He said, “You had way…

Ecce homo!

Feeling discouraged? Lacking self esteem? Skip the self-​help books and read “Last Ape Standing” instead. Subtitled “The Seven-​Million-​Year Story of How and Why We Survived,” this engaging précis of recent developments in paleoanthropology is imbued with enough enthusiasm for evolution to cheer and inspire even the most miserable Homo sapiens.

A seasonal song

Walk to the trailhead behind the Audubon Society’s Beechwood Farms nature center on Dorseyville Road, and you’ll briefly head down toward the meadow and then uphill, west, toward the upper fields. Stroll beneath the canopy of older trees until you reach the clearings. Look up, look low and listen. That…

The Smart House

When Peter Karlovich and Steve Herforth were searching for a site on which to build their new home, they could not have known that a decade later much of Pittsburgh would know it as the Smart House. Completed in 2003, the modern residence sits on the edge of Mt. Washington,…

Signs of spring

Pittsburgh turns green in more ways than one come mid-​March. Budding trees line the roads and crocuses pop up in sidewalk gardens. Along East Carson Street, the South Side’s main drag, drunken revelers laugh and shout, adjust their shamrock hats and “Kiss Me I’m Irish” T-​shirts as they search out…

For the children and the community

Mist emerges with an audible hiss from the vertical stainless steel poles of “Cloud Arbor,” the new artwork by Ned Kahn in the redesigned Buhl Community Park on the North Side across from the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. A delighted toddler runs toward it, to assess the wafting, San Francisco-​like…

In Jeopardy

The final Jeopardy category: Phrase Origins. My wager: $6,999 — all I had. The clue: “This two-​word adjective for going against accepted speech or conduct first appeared in a 1933 translation from Izvestia.“

Raising the bar

Going to law school as a get-​rich plan? Maybe you’ve come to the wrong place. That’s the message the University of Pittsburgh’s new law school dean, William M. “Chip” Carter Jr., relays to incoming students or existing ones seeking guidance.

The Maple

Long before Jim Pappas founded the Maple Restaurant in Ambridge, he and a partner ran an eatery that was open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. One year they decided to close for Christmas and spend a few hours with their young families, but no one could find…

The challenge of independent education

Whether it’s the tepid economy or how to adapt to changing technology, educational institutions across the country face a changing landscape. In this issue, we ask the heads of some of the region’s top independent schools to respond to this question: “What are the most significant challenges facing independent schools…

Robotics has changed surgery forever

During the first 8,500-year history of surgery, surgeons stood at the patient’s side using tools that evolved from knapped flints to tiny, high-​tech cameras. But, in 2000, when the da Vinci Surgical System was cleared by the FDA, surgery changed forever. Surgeons could now sit several feet away from their…

Laugh out loud

David Russell isn’t a stand-​up comedian. But without much effort, he regularly gets a room full of people laughing for a good 20 minutes or so. Russell is among a handful of certified laughter yoga leaders in the Pittsburgh area. A laugh is often the response he gets when he…
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