Sponsored by

American Spirit

It’s a Sip of Wine… It’s Summertime!

Kenny Chesney is at Heinz Field. White cowboy hat. Sleeveless shirt. Jeans. Leader of the “No Shoes Nation” and wearing cowboy boots. Sweating. Singing. And totally irritating the hospital security guards. “I’d like to kick Kenny Chesney’s ass,” says one as he steps outside of the hospital and into the 76-degree night, a few steps …

It’s a Sip of Wine… It’s Summertime! Read More »

They Call Him the Rapper…

Donnie Iris is sitting in what’s supposed to be his dressing room on the second floor of the Rivers Casino. Down the hall from the Grand View Buffet and a line of people waiting behind velvet ropes for the $14.99 crab legs. “This is my cousin Petey… and my other cousin Petey,” he says, pointing …

They Call Him the Rapper… Read More »

The Fight

“Tell me to be brave.” Jarrell “The Samurai” Brackett is in the basement of the Grand Hall of the Priory on Pressley Street in the North Side of Pittsburgh. Sparring. Pacing. Praying. He’s sporting a purple mohawk. Fu man chu mustache. A mouth guard is garbling his speech. He’s got lime green Title boxing gloves …

The Fight Read More »

The Delay

“Oh, they are getting me to Dallas,” the woman says, white earphones plugged into a black Samsung. “I mean, seriously, a windshield wiper motor? Like, they couldn’t have figured out that was broken last night? When the plane landed?” Welcome to Pittsburgh International Airport! As a reminder, ticketed passengers only are allowed past the ticketed …

The Delay Read More »

Bad Apples

The people are standing, sitting, heads down, waiting in line, eyes buried in iPhones. Dockers tucked into crisp blue Oxford button downs and rugby ties next to man buns and lip rings, neon yellow fake nails and plaid school uniforms. Black, white, fat, thin, in a rush, using a cane to slowly walk by. Waiting …

Bad Apples Read More »

A Passion for Pasta

The handmade, white fettuccini pasta comes in 14 flavors like basil, hot red pepper, black pepper, chive, spinach, sun dried tomato, garlic basil, parsley and squid ink, which everyone always thinks is weird. Because it’s black. Black as ink fettuccini needles. “It’s a learning curve,” says Yvonne Hennigan. “But squid ink is very common in …

A Passion for Pasta Read More »

The Meticulous Carpenter

Kevin’s got to get back inside of the house on Marshall Road on Observatory Hill. There’s work he needs to do. But first, he wants to get Donnie some water. “Here, man,” he says, appearing a few minutes later, handing Donnie the water, which has been poured into an empty gallon of Dean’s Dairy Pure …

The Meticulous Carpenter Read More »

In the Smokehouse with Herb

There are 400 pounds of bacon smoking in the smoker. Hickory smoked. With actual hickory. “Not liquid smoke,” says Herb Brittner. “See the hickory sawdust? This is the real deal.” The bacon is going to be sliced tomorrow, probably by Herb’s sister, Sally, as well as Randy, who are already slicing and packing 100 more …

In the Smokehouse with Herb Read More »

Anne is All About Cookies

Anne is going to bake some pizzelles, but you get the house tour first. “Bedroom, bathroom, living room, kitchen,” she says, passing by framed photos on the walls: pictures of her on her wedding day to George, 59 years ago, and their son, Ray, during every year of school. Anne and George live in Ray’s …

Anne is All About Cookies Read More »

Pasta with the Shimkos

There is spaghetti boiling in a big pot on the stove, Led Zeppelin playing on the radio and two silver bowls filled with thick, doughy, slices of bread on the kitchen counter. “From our Panera fairy,” Kate said, rinsing off a handful of red grapes that she transfers to a silver strainer. “She brings us …

Pasta with the Shimkos Read More »

Dwight Sells Worms

The worm truck just arrived. “You know, bait,” Dwight said. “I just got 500 Canadian night crawlers.” The worm truck came from a wholesaler in Ohio that gets the Canadian night crawlers from a guy up in Canada, who everyone knows is a legit Canadian. “Because he said ‘eh’ a lot,” Dwight said. From 7 …

Dwight Sells Worms Read More »

Clancey Calms the Airport

“Such a beautiful dog!” “Oooh! So cute!” “Look how sweet he is!” It’s Tuesday morning at the Pittsburgh International Airport. There are people dragging suitcases and grabbing lattes and wondering if someone can please point them in the direction of baggage claim because there is a flight to catch and a suitcase to find and …

Clancey Calms the Airport Read More »

Cuckoo for Clocks

The guts of a very cute, very small, and very colorful cuckoo clock with Swiss Miss vibes are splayed out on top of the Whirlpool washing machine next to a container of Gain detergent pods, a bottle of Clear Wood Finish Gloss and a Phillips head screwdriver. “My workbench during the winter,” Chris says, picking …

Cuckoo for Clocks Read More »

Their Patients Are Animals

It’s cold. Damp. Overcast and gray outside. Early on a Tuesday morning and the lions are roaring. “Communicating,” says Kathy, the lead mammal keeper. “That’s how lions communicate.” It’s barely 9:30 a.m. and people are already walking through the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, despite the clouds and the rain. Moms pushing strollers and dads …

Their Patients Are Animals Read More »

Nick Has Bikes and Jennie

The sidecar finally arrived from Canada. It was supposed to be here yesterday, then at 9 a.m. this morning. Then, there was something about it being stuck in customs in Cleveland, but the customer service rep up in Quebec promised that wasn’t true, although no one was sure because the French accent was thick. But …

Nick Has Bikes and Jennie Read More »

Kristine Knows Her Frick

It is 17 degrees outside. It is very gray and very windy and everything is frozen. Which would inspire most people to look out the window and say, “Um, no thanks,” but not the trio from Madison, Wisconsin. “It’s like spring!” they say, all smiles and giggles and oblivious to the cold. It’s their last …

Kristine Knows Her Frick Read More »

Kim Keeps the Coffee Coming

None of the regulars are here yet. Like the Daves: Candy Man Dave and Home Depot Dave and Eyeglass Dave. None of the Riches, either. Except for one of them. He’s sitting at a window booth and is about to get a fresh cup of coffee and a plate filled with two eggs sunny side …

Kim Keeps the Coffee Coming Read More »

‘Crack-A-Lacking’ for a Living

There’s a banana pumpkin scented candle flickering on the front desk. It’s a nice scent. Very deceiving. As if something yummy and caloric just popped out of Betty Crocker’s personal oven. Then, there’s the sign on the window welcoming walk-ins and talking about things like headaches and low back pain and shoulder and arm pain …

‘Crack-A-Lacking’ for a Living Read More »

The Mail’s Man in Munhall

It’s three o’clock on a Friday afternoon, and there are people coming into the post office on Main Street with letters to mail and packages to ship and books of stamps to buy and not one of them can resist the candy. Cinnamon drops and peppermints and, “Oh, is that butterscotch? I’ll take two,” sitting …

The Mail’s Man in Munhall Read More »

The 96th Birthday

Grandma is being really nice about the birthday cake you insisted on baking from scratch for her 96th birthday. Because it’s a little … dense for something that was supposed to very light and airy and angel food cakey. “This is why normal people just buy the Betty Crocker and be done with it,” howls …

The 96th Birthday Read More »

Seamstress to the Stars

There are fittings on Thursday. Eight costumes still left to make and only two weeks to make them before the first dress rehearsal for The Great Gatsby. And Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre costume designer Janet Campbell is calm. Totally calm, actually. Not a hair out of place. Looking amazingly pulled together, as if the only thing …

Seamstress to the Stars Read More »

The Man Who Was Too Nice to be a Car Salesman

Mark just got his desk back. It’s a nice spot in the showroom of Ron Lewis Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Cranberry. Right next to the doors. Right in front of the nearly floor to ceiling windows, where outside there is a shiny red Jeep next to other shiny cars and trucks and SUVs that …

The Man Who Was Too Nice to be a Car Salesman Read More »

Top