Between the Issues

The Value of Living Separately

We’ve talked a lot about De Rarum Natura, but we haven’t actually experienced the poem in these pages. There’s a reason for that — poor Lucretius has been unlucky in his translators.

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.

Girl on the Move

I arrived at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in the fall of 1959 as a 16-​year-​old first year student in the architecture department in the College of Fine Arts. I had chosen architecture because I loved art and math ever since I was a kid, and architecture seemed like the…

Soft-​Core Pathos: A Review of Pittsburgh Public Theater’s “The Tempest”

Cleverness is not a Shakespearian trait. In fact, as we have found after more than 400 years, the more we try to shape him, using our own devices, the less he is able to tell us. This is because his chief mode of artistic engagement is the sublime – versus…

This Week’s Astrology: Feb. 713, 2019

Maybe Phil the Groundhog had it right! Or, could it be the planets had an early spring feeling planned out for us all along? In any event, this week will be a build toward a burst of activity by the time we reach next Wednesday. The sun is still in…

Time Warp with Lucretius

Lucretius lived and wrote a long time ago. Indeed, if we wanted to, we could calculate how much time has passed since De Rerum Natura was completed in 50 BCE — how many centuries, years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, seconds. (But don’t bother. It was 20 centuries, 2,079 years, 24,948 months,…


Its scent was more like the bread Grandma’s fingers shaped, rising warm to my nose than the ash of her Salem’s crushed in thick glass trays, her coffee cup ringed black after finishing a smoke. That candy jar glazed butterscotch, plump atop her laminate table we used for Go Fish,…

Thirteen Debutantes Presented at the 93rd Cinderella Ball

Presented by their fathers in traditional cotillion style, thirteen Pittsburgh debutantes walked the Omni William Penn ballroom on Saturday, January 26 at the 93rd Annual Cinderella Ball.

Death in the Back Yard

I had been an outdoors guy all my life, until Donna Rae found “our dream house” in the city of Sharon in 2006. The compromise was that, for a place in town, this property had a bit of wild land and some wildlife: dozens of squirrels, occasional deer, raccoons, skunks,…

This Week’s Astrology: Jan. 31 – Feb. 7, 2019

Apart from harsh weather, this time of year rarely seems “eventful.” However, the planets do not see it that way this week. In addition to a new moon on Monday, we will notice other shifts that will result from some rather important planetary interactions.

On Lucretius, Part II: Why His Poem Was so Great

“The greatest poem by the greatest poet.” —Dryden on De Rerum Natura and Lucretius

Disability Community Looks to Commonwealth Leaders for Hope and Help

With a re-​elected governor sworn back in for his second term, a new lieutenant governor snug in his new office and a gaggle of new legislators joining lawmaking hands with their seasoned colleagues, it’s time for Harrisburg to settle in and begin work one of its most vexing tasks: enacting…

This Week’s Astrology: Jan. 2430, 2019

While we will certainly notice less frenetic activity than the last few weeks have brought, this one will have its share of interesting turns. The sun will remain in Aquarius, bringing to mind the general concern of what works for “everyone,” whether that constitutes your family, circle of friends, business…

Patterns at the Reservoir

With winter’s storms and frigid temperatures come delicate specimens of nature’s beauty, for those attentive enough to notice. Over several years, photographer David Aschkenas captured the natural art of ice patterns on the surface of the Highland Park Reservoir. Enjoy the beauty of freezing temperatures — without needing to bundle up — in this…

On Lucretius: The Man Who Changed the World

One happy day in the year 1417, with the mind of Europe still firmly in the grip of the Dark Ages, a fellow named Poggio Bracciolini was mucking around in the Benedictine library at Fulda in present-​day Germany. He reached out his hand and pulled off the musty shelves a…
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