PEOPLE & OPINION

Black and White

For the first eight years of my teaching career, the only white face in my classroom was mine. I was aware of that fact, of course, but only peripherally. My students were just that, my students. Don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying I was colorblind. I just didn’t relate to my…

Lessons from the Farm

Out at the farm, there’s an old trailer that my parents bought about 30 years ago after the farmhouse we’d been restoring burned to the ground. I’m sure that when Mom and Dad were alive and used it on weekends, the trailer had enough of Mom’s touches to make it…

Donna’s Dream and a Life of Roller Skating

Donna’s knee has been bothering her lately. Which is why she isn’t lacing up her white roller skates right now, the pair her late husband bought for her in 1963 for, geez, it must have been five hundred dollars. The same pair she was wearing 10 years ago when she…

Shined Shoes Can Save Your Life

A few weeks ago, in a post about J. D. Vance’s book, “Hillbilly Elegy,” I mentioned in passing that I was convinced that having spit-​shined my Army combat boots may have saved my life. I didn’t elaborate, and since then several dozen people have inquired about that brief aside. So…

An Antique Point of View

Someday, Jim Barricella will retire from antiquing. Well, maybe not retire literally, but definitely do something else with his life. Something other than the never-​ending hours he spends at his antique shop, Off the Avenue.

Why Democracy Matters

Just to make it simple, let’s define Europe’s “illiberal democracies” as those countries where elected leaders profoundly disagree with the liberal, inclusive, affluent worldview of the EU’s political classes.

August Wilson and the Joe Louis-​Billy Conn Title Rematch

by Richard Peterson
Pulitzer prize-​winning dramatist and Pittsburgh native August Wilson dramatized the modern history of African-​Americans in 10 plays, often called the Pittsburgh cycle, for each decade of the 20th century.

Make No Little Plans

by Melanie Linn Gutowski
World’s fairs seem a quaint remnant of generations past, or perhaps a childhood memory of visiting New York in 1939 or 1964. In a world where news is literally at one’s fingertips, traveling hundreds of miles to marvel at the latest food production techniques seems unnecessary.

On a Pedestal: National Flag Foundation, Clarion Quartet

The National Flag Foundation — What’s in a symbol? One great thing about pittsburgh is that, as long as you may have lived here and made a study of the area, surprises always pop up to greet you. Case in point: Pittsburgh is home to the National Flag Foundation, a nonprofit that…

The Media Has It All Wrong

I mentioned last week that I recently visited Switzerland, Austria and Hungary, and that if we think things have gone nuts in the U.S., we have no idea.

Davis, Klausing, Donatelli, Lynch, Heinz, Sachs, McEachran, Scully, Sammartino

Nathan Davis, 81: Davis was director of jazz studies at the University of Pittsburgh and a pioneer in bringing jazz education into the mainstream. A tenor and soprano saxophone player, his 44-​year tenure at Pitt included creating the Pittsburgh Jazz Seminar, the Sonny Rollins International Jazz Archive, the International Academy…

Judith Hansen O’Toole, Art Lover

I was born in Minneapolis, one of four sisters. My father was a college professor who was finishing his Ph.D. in American studies at the University of Minnesota, after which he took a job at Penn State. So, I actually grew up in State College, and was a “faculty brat”…

The Hillbilly Saga: Conclusion

The bottom line of J. D. Vance’s book, “Hillbilly Elegy,” is that far too many people from southeastern Kentucky are trapped in a hillbilly culture that stands in the way of their own success. As if that weren’t bad enough, hillbillies are discriminated against because people aren’t willing to distinguish…

Albrecht, Kinne, Wildermuth, Behre, Suroviec, Sullivan, Chalikonda

Chuck Albrecht is the new executive director of the Persad Center, a licensed counseling center created to serve LGBT people. A native of Portsmouth, Ohio. Albrecht comes to Pittsburgh from Florida, where for the past 17 years he was chief operating officer at the Florida Gulf Coast Chapter of the…

How to React to a Hillbilly

Last week we tried to imagine how Professor Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize-​winning author of “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” would react if he saw a couple of hillbillies coming into his store. This week we’ll re-​look at that situation, pretending that Kahneman isn’t a Nobel Prize winning professor at all, but…
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