Charming and Impossible

Stefan Lorant was a dashing, debonaire fellow when he was young, and even in his late old age he remained attractive to women. One 40-year-old divorcée recalls having an affair with Lorant when the latter was in his eighties. “He was impossibly romantic,” she told me. Previously in this series: Stefan Lorant Part II, The …

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Oh, Say Can You Sing?

During the winter months, every executive in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization is thinking about the upcoming season. Chris Serkoch isn’t pondering who’ll bat clean-up, whether a platoon will work in left field, or how she can line up the bullpen. Her concerns, though, are just as vital. Serkoch is wondering who will perform the national …

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What Can I Do to Slow or Prevent the Onset of Osteoporosis?

Question: I was recently informed that I may be suffering from osteoporosis or weakening of the bones.  What if anything can I do to improve my bone health?  Take some solace in the fact that your situation is not uncommon. Osteoporosis, which literally means “porous bone,” is a condition where the quality, quantity and strength of …

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Teeing off for Brother’s Brother

The Brother’s Brother Foundation hosted its Annual Golf Classic last week at the Fox Chapel Golf Club in Pittsburgh. The event, which raises money for local education and healthcare initiatives, featured some 90 golfers and numerous sponsors, including main sponsors Highmark and UPMC as well as Caroline and Tom Wentling, Gayle and Bill Simpson, BNY Mellon, …

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Curley, Martin, Kreisman, Rocher, Sarni, Lampl

Mary Taylor Walton Curley, 97The daughter of John and Rachel Mellon Walton and granddaughter of Gulf Oil founder William Larimer Mellon, she graduated from Vassar and worked at Pitt after World War II assisting women veterans on the GI Bill. She and her husband, oil executive Walter Curley, lived all over the world, from India …

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The Selling of Mellon

Editor’s Note: This article is based on the upcoming book published by Lyons Press:“From Swampoodle to Mellon Bank CEO; An Irish American’s Journey, the Autobiography of Martin G. McGuinn Jr.” When I came to Mellon Bank in 1981, it was the dominant bank in Pittsburgh, much to the chagrin of Pittsburgh National Bank, which later, …

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The Book on Pittsburgh

Wherever Stefan Lorant went in his life – whatever job he held, whatever town he lived in, whatever nation – he had a remarkable knack for being in the right place and for sniffing out who the most important people were and meeting and befriending them. Previously in this series: Stefan Lorant, Part I In …

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Russia, Ukraine and the Markets

Editor’s note: Pittsburgh Quarterly recently asked regional financial experts to respond to the following question:  The Russian invasion of Ukraine has further increased energy and food prices and disrupted supply lines for key manufacturing inputs. What are the implications for the global and U.S. economies? James Armstrong, Henry Armstrong Associates Free and open trade have …

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A Parent’s Shame

She grips a chunk of chalk in her fistscratches onto black construction paperfamiliar fury of scribbles:a moon todayyesterday, an egg someone’s headside by side, two are apples.  Sometimesthe picture isn’t the pointit’s powder on palmswows and ooohs and beautifulsfingers and focus and finishingit’s preschool prideit’s fine-motor joy neither of us realizingshe’s tall enough nowto see into …

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Kinetic Theatre’s World Premiere of “The Illustrious Invalid”

There is a saying in the world of martial arts that “Control is the mother of speed,” and it could be said that in the world of theater, control – in the form of precise writing, acting, and directing – is the mother of farce.  In both cases, when speed is the sole objective, things …

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Stefan Lorant

Stefan Lorant, the pioneering photojournalist, was born at the turn of the twentieth century and died 96 years later, at the century’s end. In between, everywhere Lorant went and everything he did ended up having momentous consequences. Some of those consequences were micro and personal – but memorable – while others were macro and geopolitical. …

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China’s Xi Is Having a Really Bad War

“Putin’s War Is Xi’s Worst Nightmare” — Headline above Craig Singleton’s article in Foreign Policy The term idée fixe refers to a monomania of the brain, a pathology of the mind, an erroneous notion that nonetheless powerfully resists almost any attempt to modify it. When an idée fixe establishes itself in the mind of an all-powerful autocrat, the consequences are always …

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The Fed and Inflation

Editor’s note: Pittsburgh Quarterly has regional financial experts to respond to this question: Inflation has proven to be higher and “stickier: than the Fed expected. Do you think the Fed’s policies are appropriate or is the Fed behind the curve? What is your best estimate for inflation at the end of 2022?   Linda Duessel, Federated …

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Pittsburgher’s Report

The sun burned brightly on june 17, 1876, promising a hot day in southwestern Montana. Gen. George Crook’s column of about 1,300 soldiers, friendly Indians and civilians relaxed while their horses chomped prairie grass and quenched their thirst in Rosebud Creek. At about 8:30 a.m., as Crook played whist with fellow officers, Crow and Shoshone …

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Let’s Take “the Pits” out of Pittsburgh

In my spring column, I wrote about the borough of Wilkinsburg, encouraging Pittsburgh City Council to vote in favor of annexing the failed municipality. When I wrote it though, it had been years since I’d veered off of Wilkinsburg’s main drag — Penn Avenue — and actually explored the borough. Last month, I drove all …

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On a Pedestal, Summer 2022

When Harris Ferris became executive director, the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre had lost its orchestra and faced a mountain of debt and a dubious future. Nearly 17 years later, he leaves the PBT stronger than ever. A former principal dancer, armed with a Rutgers MBA and a winning personality, Ferris expanded the company’s national and international …

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The Perch

I have found a perch. It’s at the top of a rocky, rutted trail that shoots up a 70-degree angle from terra firma. Today’s destination: closer to the clouds. I have a book, The Genius of Birds, an old, wooden folding chair that functions as a plant stand in our living room, and a bottle …

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Seven Young Women Debut at the 96th Cinderella Ball

Friends and family gathered over Memorial Day weekend at the Allegheny Country Club for the 96th presentation of the Cinderella Ball.   The Ball celebrates a formal introduction to society for a group of debutantes and the culmination of a year of charitable work and personal development through the completion of the Leadership Forum for Young …

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Taking Flight With the Ordinary

“Speaking from the gut” was known in ancient Greece as gastromancy. It also became known as an early form of ventriloquism. According to Encyclopaedia Brittanica, “the noises produced by the stomach were thought to be the voices of the unliving, who took up residence in the stomach of the ventriloquist. The ventriloquist would then interpret …

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U.S. Policy Blunders Helped Provoke Ukraine War

Whose Fault is the Ukraine War? “[Post-Cold War], many American elites embraced a vision of a U.S.-led ‘liberal international order’ which could theoretically integrate the entire world… into a single, globalized whole.” –  Stephen Kotkin, Princeton University Previously in this series: A Coat of Varnish Part V, ESG Investors Need to Wake Up to Reality …

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How About a Delicious Peach Cobbler (and more)?

There is something about comfort food that evokes a feeling of old-fashioned delight. And when it comes to dessert, there’s nothing like fruit cobbler, bread pudding, gobs or banana pudding to transport you to a time when calories didn’t count and a big scoop of dessert made everything better. Today, not everyone has time to …

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Rough Ride for Markets

Editor’s note: Pittsburgh Quarterly asked regional financial experts to respond to two questions, one about effects on the economy of the war in Ukraine and the other of the effects Federal Reserve actions (or inaction). Many of their answers to the first question are below, followed by the second question and many of their answers …

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