An Awkward Introduction to Cyril Wecht

Cyril Wecht’s recent death took me back decades to summer of 1978 and Carnegie Mellon University’s tennis courts.  Two white guys dressed in tennis whites had finished playing and sat on the grass. In my early twenties and in law school, I was one of them.  The other guy, I’ll refer to as “Tom,”  was …

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All’s Well that Ends…

“You should be kissed often, and by someone who knows how.” Rhett Butler It seemed that everything had been taken care of at the Zurich Cantonal Bank and that we were home free. But I’d overlooked one crucial item. Previously in this series: Switcheroo!After Dr. Brenner and I had shaken hands with the bank officials and …

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Where Science Meets Play

Oscar Wilde once remarked, “Illusion is the first of all pleasures.” Welcome to the Museum of Illusions, Pittsburgh’s newest playground for both the young and the young at heart. Step into Instagram-worthy exhibits — infinity mirrors, spatial puzzles, and a plethora of mind-twisting fun await. Situated a stone’s throw away from PNC Park, this is …

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To Keep Your Balance, You Must Keep Moving

My daughter Phelan was born in 2004. She knows Winona Ryder from the series Stranger Things. She thinks Johnny Depp’s Wino tattoo is because he has a drinking problem; who knows, not judging. Stranger Things is set in the 1980s. The kids in the show ride bikes with banana seats and handlebar tassels, just like …

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Switcheroo!

The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley. Robert Burns We were parked at a service plaza on Route 3, just inside the Zurich cantonal border, and Dr. Brenner had gotten an urgent message to call his office. Now he and I were standing in the parking lot a ways apart from …

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Ed Simon and the Plight of Milton’s Satan

The notion behind IG Publishing’s “Bookmarked” series is to allow contemporary authors to reflect on how a particular book influenced their journey to becoming writers. “Part autobiography, part literary criticism,” the series aims to guide readers through a deep dive of a single book. The latest installment, Heaven, Hell and Paradise Lost, features Pittsburgh writer …

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DeForrest, Singer, Diab, van Baarle, Dragga, Hembree, Rosenthal

Jasmin DeForrest has been named managing director of The Heinz Endowments’ Creativity Strategic Area. Previously, she was senior director for Arts and Culture at the Detroit-based Gilbert Family Foundation and has more than 20 years of experience in grantmaking, nonprofit leadership, sponsorship management, entrepreneurship and event production. The Detroit native was community sponsorships director for the …

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It Takes a Village (To Move All That Gold)

My client, Goldie, had spent many annoying decades conducting gold inventories in remote Swiss villages, and now I’d just been informed that it had been totally unnecessary. Previously in this series: Goldie, Part III“But … but …” I said. The Pictet partner explained that while the army’s original strategy (to pull back into the mountains) …

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My Oldest Brother

Just before 6 a.m. on New Year’s Eve, I got in the car to drive down to Cincinnati, my hometown. I’ve done it 100 times at least since I moved to Pittsburgh 39 years ago. And I’ve done it for all manner of occasions. This time, it was to see my oldest brother. His heart …

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Buying Fragments of God: The Crazy Art World of the 1980s

If the 1960s changed America’s consciousness for the better, the 1980s certainly changed American commercialism for the worse. And to have lived during this latter period in New York City was to have felt the first tremors of this change, much like living near the epicenter of an earthquake and experiencing its initial shockwaves before …

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Pittsburgh Hopes to Finally Get a Team Worthy of its Ballpark

Editor’s note: This piece was written and originally published prior to the Pirates getting off to the second-best start of the 30 Major League Baseball teams.  Sixteen. That’s how many teams have won the World Series since PNC Park opened in 2001. Another five have gotten to the big autumn show and lost. That’s 21 …

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The Fine Collection Follows and Augments a Long Line of Pittsburgh Benefactors

Andrew Carnegie provided the means to establish the Carnegie Institute, but he believed that it should be supported by those who use it. He wasn’t much of an art collector, so he left it to others to buy or give the grand building’s objects. The art museum’s collection grew very slowly at first, with purchases …

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What Do I Know? Guillermo Velazquez

My story begins in Mexico City. I am the youngest of eight children, and my father passed away from liver disease when I was 11. When someone in your life dies while you are still young, you don’t really understand what’s happening. All I knew was that I saw my father working, and then he …

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Conway, Buford, Oshry, Morby, Moriarity, O’Reilly, Nutting, Ochester, Eberle, Courtney

Tom Conway, 71 International president of United Steelworkers since 2019, Conway was committed to making things in America and remained unwilling to accept that globalization was better. He tried to make changes in manufacturing that would lead to a cleaner environment and worker health and safety. A legendary negotiator who believed in the union ideal of “stronger …

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Speaking of Drinks…

Tiki two As I mentioned, I came of legal drinking age at a time when you could only get tiki drinks at Chinese restaurants. The pioneering Don The Beachcomber was no more, and as far as I knew all the Trader Vic’s had closed, except for a few locations abroad. Previously in this series: The …

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Spring Blooming Plants Blooming in Fall

It’s the holiday season and my rural Pennsylvania town is bursting with the signs of Christmas: wreaths hung on doors, trees strung with colorful lights, a creche erected in the town square — and spring-flowering plants in bloom.  My forsythia is blooming a bright yellow. White lilac flowers are just dying back. Pink magnolia buds …

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Charitable Giving: Why Does it Matter?

Editor’s note: In this season of giving, we asked some of the region’s nonprofit leaders to answer a simple question: Why is charitable giving so important in our society?  Part II Laura Kelly. Brothers BrotherCharitable giving builds a foundation for a better future by promoting understanding, kindness, and collective efforts towards positive change. When members …

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The Tiki Phenomenon

I had the great misfortune to reach legal drinking age just as the tiki drink phenomenon was turning into a parody of itself. Formerly terrific drinks such as the Zombie, the Scorpion and the Rum Runner were now available only in Chinese restaurants and they all tasted exactly alike, being made by then out of …

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