Shale Gas Was in Trouble, Then Came the Coronavirus

Shale gas produced by Appalachian region wells slipped 1.8 percent during the last three months. But what seems like a slight decline warns of a coming storm for an industry that has seen production rise consistently—and sometimes dramatically—every year since the gas-rich Marcellus play drew companies to southwestern Pennsylvania in droves more than a decade …

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What’s That Song?

Spring brings warblers! It’s that simple. Spring, longed for after the buffeting chill of winter, gives way to warmth and light… and birds. Birds by the millions feel the instinctual pull north every spring, and we who await their passage are rewarded with color and song. One of my favorite species is the black-throated green …

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The Audition

“Are you getting too thin?” the agent asks from a small, windowless office, where beautiful faces hang, poster sized, all beaming, pouting, posing. “Too thin?” the model repeats, reaching for her Louis Vuitton tote. “Um, I don’t think so. But thank you! I tried on a bathing suit the other day. I was by myself …

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Has Liberal Democracy Passed Its Expiration Date?

“Many forms of government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” —Winston …

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Restarting Pittsburgh’s Arts Economy

In late summer of 1606, one of the liveliest theatre seasons London, England, had known was abruptly shut down by the sudden onset of bubonic plague. When public entertainments were allowed to resume almost two years later in April 1608, several drama companies that had flourished pre-plague were nowhere to be found. William Shakespeare’s company, …

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The Home Gym

Question: “I want to get stronger, but I don’t like the gym scene. Can I build significant muscle mass at home without weight machines?” The short answer to your question is “yes,” assuming that you incorporate the essential elements of a successful strength (resistance) training program into your workouts. The first step in the process …

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When the Spanish Flu Swept In, Pittsburgh Failed the Test

Within days of Allegheny County’s first confirmed case of coronavirus in March, city and county officials moved to shutter nonessential businesses, with their efforts buttressed by stay at home orders from Harrisburg shortly thereafter. This was not the case in 1918, when the Spanish flu ravaged the region, state, nation and world. And Pittsburghers paid …

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A Bauhaus Masterpiece

Is a house private or public? Like any compelling opposites, each really only exists with measured dollops of the other. Choices of how to eat, sleep, bathe and relax are very private. Yet the artistic movements or common practices inflecting those selections are very public—from publications and exhibitions to the sprawling possibilities of the design …

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The Deserted Streets of Pittsburgh 

In Downtown Pittsburgh, a beat cop checks the doors of businesses along Penn Avenue. The streets are empty except for the occasional person waiting at a bus stop. Market Square has an eerie feeling; eateries remain open for takeout, but few people pass through. On quiet Grant Street, an Allegheny County Sheriff’s Department vehicle passes …

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Viral Investing, Part II: What Should I Do Now?

“Profit from folly rather than participating in it. Be fearful when others are greedy. Be greedy when others are fearful. I prefer buying things. Otherwise, it’s a little like saving sex for your old age.” —Warren Buffett   “The true contrarian only buys when it makes him feel physically sick to press the buy key.” …

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As COVID-19 Cases Mount, Pa. Hospitals Get Some Relief

State lawmakers approved a $50 million relief package yesterday for Pennsylvania’s hospitals in what could be just the first infusion of cash into the statewide health care network as it battles the growing COVID-19 crisis. Legislators approved the money one day after a statewide hospital trade group urged them to set up a fund to …

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Ramps

At Greene County’s 29th Annual Ramp Festival on a sunny Saturday last April, a party atmosphere was in full swing with crafters, wood carvers, metal workers and a band. But the main draw were about 15 vendors selling ramp chili, ramp sausage, ramp cookies, ramp mints, ramp butter, ramp wine, ramp hardtack, ramp pancakes, ramp …

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Viral Investing

“You make most of your money in a bear market, you just don’t realize it at the time.” —Shelby Cullom Davis Given the recent market volatility driven primarily by the outbreak of COVID-19, I thought I would share my current views. But first, a word about terminology. COVID-19 (coined, for reasons best known to them, …

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That’s How the Cookie Crumbles

The wood fired oven sits in Dan Cardone’s perfectly manicured back yard in a residential development in the North Hills. A stately, towering thing made of brick, mortar, stone, and some marble that was going to be a headstone for a grave. “They spelled someone’s name wrong and couldn’t use it,” he says. He spent …

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Cleveland 11,000 – Pittsburgh 1

The housing bubble had burst and the nation was reeling from recession. The City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County were feeling the pain more than most places in 2009. Foreclosures were mounting by the thousands, and Fannie Mae and other lenders were desperate for a way to off-load the abandoned properties filling their books. They …

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Region Gained Jobs in January but Pandemic Fallout Looms

The Pittsburgh region added 3,900 jobs from January 2019 to January 2020—a .33 percent increase that’s a faint bright spot in the rearview mirror of an economy in turmoil from the worldwide spread of the coronavirus. “The year ended much as it began, with modest employment growth,” said Christopher Briem, regional economist at the University …

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Nathanson, Cannon, Jansons, Hartford, Wolf, Armstrong, Siewers, Goodfriend

Harvey C. Nathanson, 83: Nathanson was chief scientist for Westinghouse Research Labs, pioneering numerous technologies including micro-electro mechanical (MEMS) devices. An electrical engineer, he had more than 50 patents and was honored with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ Millennium Medal. Glenn Cannon, 72: Cannon was a dedicated and successful public servant, leading emergency …

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Dancing on Pittsburgh Streets: Bring Gene Kelly Alive Again

A shirtless Tupac Shakur stalked the stage at California’s Coachella music festival in 2012. He raised his arms to the roar of the stunned crowd and launched into his posthumous hit single, “Hail Mary.” The performance took place more than 15 years after Shakur was murdered in a drive-by shooting. But on that night at …

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A Remarkable Life

One morning, I received a call from my Zurich lawyer, Dr. Andreas Froriep, who informed me that someone was trying to find out who was behind Arran Isle Improvement Association AG. I burst out laughing. It’s true, I suppose, that the Arran miscreants and their shyster lawyers could litigate in Switzerland for a decade or …

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When Irish Was Spoken in Pittsburgh

Irish language scholar Douglas Hyde described Pittsburgh as “the dirtiest and blackest city in America” during his January 1906 visit. “Hell uncovered,” he jotted in his journal, paraphrasing the Atlantic Monthly’s 1868 coinage. Hyde also complained “the wind would cut your nose off.” But the 45-year-old Irishman hadn’t sailed across the Atlantic for mild weather …

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Roses & Thorns: Resident Artists in Opera Couture

Pittsburgh Opera partnered with Choices Pittsburgh for the “Roses & Thorns” fashion show on March 9, which featured couture fashions from Lela Rose, hair and makeup by Studio Booth, and Pittsburgh Opera’s resident artists in opera couture. Before the show, guests enjoyed cocktails, wine from R Wine Cellar, and passed hors d’oeuvres by Hungry for Time. After the …

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“Horsing Around… After Dark” Raises $180,000 for Family House

On Saturday, March 7, over 290 guests came to the Duquesne Club for the annual Family House Gala presented by UPMC and UPMC Health Plan and helped raise $180,000 for the organization. The evening, titled “Horsing Around… After Dark,” included opportunities to donate directly to the mission of Family House and partake in various raffle …

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