Opinion

Colleges and Schools Can and Should Open in a Way That Does the Least Harm

Any untimely death is a tragedy. Our youth die in transit to and from schools and universities every year, but these institutions are not shut down as a result. Engaging in life involves some risk of death. COVID-19 deaths in youth are rare. Rational policies should aim to minimize such risks with no expectation of …

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Never Let a Good Crisis Go to Waste

By chance, in early January, I watched a Netflix series called “Pandemic,” so my sensors were attuned early for the virus news from China. I was initially surprised that people were slow to give it credence and that financial markets blithely reached all-time highs Feb. 19. Soon enough though, as virus news swept the globe …

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On a Pedestal: Moe Coleman Awards, Kiski School, Women in Leadership

Finding someone able to debate politics with civility and respect is difficult today, when public discourse all too often turns coarse and divisive. Former Allegheny County Executive Jim Roddey and his “across the aisle” friend, Duquesne University law professor and former Pittsburgh deputy mayor Joseph Sabino Mistick, are trying to cultivate more people who are …

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The Migrations of Hunting

“Nature is a wet place where large numbers of ducks fly around uncooked.” —Oscar Wilde I didn’t grow up in a hunting family. When it came to wild animals, we enjoyed simply seeing them, not killing them. And the least likely kind of hunting for me might have been ducks. I liked the book “Make …

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Holiday Thoughts from the Dalai Lama’s Physician

Dr. Barry Kerzin, Buddhist Monk and physician to the Dalai Lama, is back in Pittsburgh, continuing his work with UPMC nurses, building compassion, resilience and mindfulness into their daily activities, with the goal of decreasing stress and increasing fulfillment. (See a longer PQ story on Kerzin here). He is in discussions to possibly begin similar …

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My Flawed Church: A Treasure in an Earthen Vessel

Pittsburgh Catholics have had a really tough year. Changing the parish configurations of churches around the city at the same time we Catholics were dealing with the painful grand jury report was one crisis too many. Our home parishes were shuffled, our beloved priests reassigned, Sunday Mass schedules upended. Meetings and activities took place to …

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On a Pedestal: Fallingwater, Allegheny Conference, Natural Areas Association, Healthcare Truce

Now, a world treasure: Fallingwater has gone global. Thanks to efforts from the Western Pa. Conservancy, Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece of modern architecture nestled in the verdant Laurel Highlands has been added to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage List. It’s recognition that in our backyard is a treasure considered in …

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Lost and Found

Some days are memorable for obvious reasons: births, deaths, weddings and funerals. Occasionally, however, a day is noteworthy not for any dramatic event but for what you suddenly understand. For 58 summers in a row, I’ve gone to a little town in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula called Cedarville. What has turned out, in retrospect, to be …

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Famous Last Words…

Editor’s note: Oil and gas man Michael L. Benedum and his wife Sarah created the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation in memory of their only child who died in 1918 at the age of 20. On the anniversary of the Foundation, which has distributed more than $500 million in philanthropy to Pittsburgh and West Virginia, we …

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The Seeming Vastness of Summer

During a 15-minute break from a recent Friday night poker game, a friend and I were discussing medical things when the question arose: What would you do if you found out you had two years to live and would be in basically good health until the end? The conversation soon attracted a wider group, and …

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When Clocks Have No Hands

I am a returnee by nature. Over the years I have returned to neighborhoods where I once lived, to rooms in dormitories that were mine, to Mirror Lake in the Adirondacks where I caught my first trout and to a grade school playground where I competed in kickball (soccer), softball and football. Although I enjoyed …

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On a Pedestal: Clarion River, Innovation in Education

Western Pennsylvania is blessed with an abundance of water at a time when many places in the world find it increasingly scarce. But having ample water isn’t enough if it is tainted with pollutants. And the region long has been guilty of negligence when it comes to keeping its waterways clean and healthy. The Clarion …

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Batting Her Eyelashes

As never happens, I was invited to a black-tie charity event. Already possessing a fetching black ball gown, I thought I was sufficiently prepared. A close friend, however, said I just MUST get eyelash extensions for that “little extra pizzazz.” Maybe I would finally make the P-G “Seen” column! Always on the lookout for such …

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Fairy Tale or Future: The Choice Is Ours

The Amazon HQ2 spectacle was a grand 21st Century fairy tale. It had everything: the world’s richest company promising happily-ever-after status to the city that would win its second headquarters, $5 billion in investment and 50,000 jobs. For 17 months, people murmured throughout the land. Some whispered that Amazon’s move was a brilliant marketing stratagem; …

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On a Pedestal: Pittsburgh Playhouse, Literacy Pittsburgh

The Pittsburgh Playhouse at Point Park University made its debut Oct. 11, opening its doors to a new era for the school, its students, theatergoers and the city. It’s built to impress. From its three-story-wide lobby bathed in natural light to a 550-seat theater designed to give passersby outside a glimpse of backstage workings and …

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The Dangerous Necessity of Beauty

At one time I took for granted the traditional definition of beauty—id quod visum placet—that which when seen pleases. Eventually I came to see that this was much too narrow a definition. It did not include what could be called beautiful when heard, touched, tasted, felt or otherwise experienced. That is why Robert Frost’s saying …

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A Turning Point for Troubled Times

By almost any objective measure, life in America has never been better. We’re not at war. Poverty is low, unemployment’s even lower, and stocks are sky high. Homicide rates are about where they were in 1950 and half of what they were in 1980. And medical care is better than ever with dramatic breakthroughs occurring …

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Redemption, Wilford Brimley and Walmart

The shopping cart wasn’t going that fast. For once, I wasn’t careening through Walmart like a contestant on Guy Fieri’s “Grocery Games,” simply because my cart was weighted down with two large cases of water, two big containers of clothes detergent (so much cheaper in the 255 ounce unliftable bottles), four vats of kitty litter …

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What’s Right, What’s Left?

So much of modern culture seems bent on eliminating humanity from life itself. In many instances, this is identified as progress. But is it? Consider the current attitude toward handwriting, i.e., cursive. In many of our schools there is no longer any emphasis on the handwritten word. When I asked my grandson recently if handwriting …

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I’d Find You Again

There’s this line in a Lukas Nelson song that goes, “If I started over I’d find you again.” I have no sense of direction, so I hope this is possible for me, but salmon do it all the time. Fall is here, and this is the time when salmon make their run. Not like a …

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Spinning Out of Control

Working from home for the past year has provided me with a one-minute commute to my home office and easy access to my favorite meal replacement—potato chips and dip. One of these perks resulted in my favorite jeans shrinking considerably and the realization that it was time to again try a dreaded fitness class. I …

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The Last At-Bat

Early one morning this summer, I was fishing with my friend in northern Michigan. The fog was thick, and Dave asked if I could tell where I was going. I know those waters and predicted that in about 30 seconds a point with a white boathouse would come into view. It did, and we rounded …

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