2007 Summer

A Cottage Charmer

The before pictures of the house in Fox Chapel would send a chill through the heart of even the most accomplished renovator. An 1870s cottage married to a 1950s ranch created a charmless union, to say the least. “I walked in, saw the living room and said, ‘We’ll take it,’” Betsy Deiseroth recalls with a …

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Lane, Meachem, Anderson, Keeler, LaCasse, Gleason, Gunther, Howard

Linda S. Lane is the deputy superintendent of the Pittsburgh Public Schools. A 2003 classmate of Superintendent Mark Roosevelt at Broad Superintendents Academy, she comes to Pittsburgh from Des Moines, Iowa, where she was deputy superintendent of the Des Moines Public Schools.She was the first female and minority to serve as Des Moines’ chief operating …

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Give me a “P”

By 1995, a dark cloud had settled over the University of Pittsburgh. It was taking a beating in the press as it struggled to deal with one controversy after another. Leadership at the highest level was in transition. Once-generous state subsidies to support its operations were drying up. And when hopes turned to the notion of …

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No cubicles

If any company represents creativity, success and a new paradigm, it’s Google. With an Internet advertising model that’s revolutionizing the industry and racking up money click by click, Google’s methods and its market cap represent a wish list for many companies. Its recent opening of an office in Pittsburgh was an easy decision for the …

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No regrets

When I drove my 22-year-old son from our home in Los Angeles to his new life in San Francisco, I didn’t realize I, too, was starting off on a new road. I used the six-hour drive to deliver last-minute motherly advice. He wanted to talk about his dream of becoming a musician. For him, the …

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Cut Me, Mick!

Right about when I purchased new 36-inch-waist pants and my self-loathing reached a peak, the new Sylvester Stallone film, “Rocky Balboa” opened. As I shaved the morning after seeing the movie, I wore my towel up high to cover my Dunlop’s disease — when your belly done lops over your belt. With a half-lathered face, …

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From the Publisher, Summer 2007

If all goes as planned this summer, my family and I will sail the waters of the remote North Channel between Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Canada in a 28-foot sloop. I’ve sailed a lot on Lake Huron but have never skippered a longer voyage on open waters. It’ll mean preparation in navigation and emergency procedures …

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Stocks & Pedestal, Summer 2007

It took a little doing — the blacksmith had to add a few links in the chains — but we’ve put obesity in the public stockade. It’s often said that in many cultures being corpulent is a sign of wealth and even beauty. In ours, being obese is neither. Some see it as a natural …

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The Revelation of China

To be in China now must be like witnessing the construction of the pyramids. In Beijing, the world’s most powerful totalitarian regime is preparing for next year’s Olympics. Shanghai, a garden of skyscrapers, is getting ready for the 2010 World’s Fair. New highways, airports, power plants, dams and towers are fueled by China’s $1 trillion-plus …

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Jeanne Pearlman, Philanthropy Executive

I was raised in Squirrel Hill. It was a close-knit community that valued ideas and intellectual activities. For my parents, dinnertime was not only about eating. It was also about talking, thinking and challenging. Any opinion expressed had to be countered with another opinion. My father would always ask, “Why do you think that?” This …

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Andrew Carnegie: The Black and the white

Andrew Carnegie was America’s first great industrialist, the nation’s quintessential philanthropist, and, closer to home, Pittsburgh’s favorite son. He was also, however, a man of startling ethical and moral contrasts, and those paradoxes threaten his reputation. Was his bountiful philanthropy based upon purely beatific instincts or was it, to paraphrase Clausewitz, simply self-promotion “by other …

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Raging Grannies

Sometimes we Raging Grannies create quite a stir. Being of a “certain age,” none of us ever expected to find ourselves before an audience, let alone exiting to applause. But there we are, clambering up on stages and platforms, wearing outrageous hats and running shoes, singing like canaries and loving it. A feisty dozen women …

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Bickel, Nickel, Magobern, Rhoades, Elmer, Lerner, Anderson

Minnette Bickel, 85: A national award-winning portrait artist, Bickel painted hundreds of portraits of notable Pittsburghers and national figures. She would get a feel for the subject and then be guided by intuition. She was among the founders of Carnegie Museum’s Women’s Committee and was known as a charming, friendly and stylish person. Elbie Nickel, …

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Song of Canonsburg

The bustling borough of Canonsburg, 20 miles due south of Pittsburgh, was incorporated Feb. 22, 1802, on what Mother always called George Birthington’s Washday. Yes, it was a bit disrespectful. But so was Mother. And so, for that matter, was George. The Father of Our Country spent a lot of time in those parts during …

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Putnam Place

Few things satisfy more on a warm summer day than strolling through a beautiful garden and then selecting and cutting flowers for a perfect arrangement. If you don’t have the time, space or talent to cultivate and tend a cutting garden, The Putnam Place, about a mile from Bakersfield (in the Laurel Highlands), is a …

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The Course Loved ‘Round the World

The U.S. Golf Association began staging the U.S. Open — the ultimate national championship — in 1895, and moves it year to year around the country. The USGA requires, first of all, a golf course that offers a stiff challenge, where the rough is deep, the greens fast and par is an outstanding score. It’s …

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The Hummingbird is a Powerhouse

Endurance athlete, feather-weight fighter, acrobat: all describe the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, smallest member of eastern North America’s avifauna and the only hummer to breed in western Pennsylvania. If you could hold one of these tiny birds to your ear, you’d hear a heart beating 250 times a minute—at rest. That rate rockets to some 1,200 beats …

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Job Health Not So Simple

If you read the daily newspaper, listen to news radio or watch the local TV news, you’ll get a report in the first week of every month on the latest Pittsburgh unemployment rate. It is a news tradition of decades. The data come from the state Dept. of Labor and Industry one month after the …

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The Oldest Trick in the Book

With an estimated 2,000 new and reissued titles entering the book market each week, no one can read everything. Now, thanks to Pierre Bayard, a French critic and psychoanalyst, no one actually has to read anything. The author of How to Talk About Books One Hasn’t Read? (Comment Parler des Livres Que l’On N’a Pas …

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Westinghouse CEO: Steve Tritch

We Pittsburghers have had our share of recent good news/bad news upon which we can pontificate over summer cocktails — the challenge of population loss vs. the glory of again being the most livable city. We can also prattle on about our region’s CEOs — better they be homebred or global business stars? With Westinghouse Electric’s …

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Can Video Games Save the World?

The main entrance to the Carnegie Mellon Entertainment Technology Center off Second Avenue looks like the inside of a space ship. Neon blue and purple lamps wash the corridor with cool, luminescent hues, like a Death Star antechamber, and trapezoidal wall moldings recall Star Trek interiors. “Blast door” portcullises, complete with tooth-like eaves ready to …

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