Opinion

Redemption, Wilford Brimley and Walmart

The shopping cart wasn’t going that fast. For once, I wasn’t careening through Walmart like a contestant on Guy Fieri’s “Grocery Games,” simply because my cart was weighted down with two large cases of water, two big containers of clothes detergent (so much cheaper in the 255 ounce unliftable bottles),…

The Really Horrible Versus the Ordinarily Horrible

By “PVCs” I don’t mean the stuff they make pipes out of. I mean “premature ventricular contractions.” When people have heart attacks, especially serious ones, heart muscle dies and turns into useless, deadweight scar tissue. To make matters worse, hearts that are pocked by scar tissue conduct electrical waves very…

The Brush Hog: Thoughts on a Fall Field Cutting

Twice a year, in June and October, I cut the long grass and other species of plants, named derisively as weeds, in my fields. It’s a bit like cutting grass with a huge lawnmower.

Who Says There’s Really “Prediabetes”?

I want to launch this post with a disclaimer — don’t do what I did. On the other hand, the usual advice — consult with your physician — might be even worse, for the reasons I’ll get to.

My Eureka Moment

So there I was in early 2015, six months after my heart attack and open heart surgery, taking 12 meds and being urged to add another two to the regime. Instead of rebelling, I was Mr. Goodpatient, passively doing whatever I was told, however insane it seemed.

The Last At-​Bat

Early one morning this summer, I was fishing with my friend in northern Michigan. The fog was thick, and Dave asked if I could tell where I was going. I know those waters and predicted that in about 30 seconds a point with a white boathouse would come into view.…

Millennials Speak Out

Millennials are the face of the future. Born from the early 1980s to the early 2000s, their ranks include doctors, teachers, students, CEOs, astronauts, mothers, fathers and future presidents. What are their aspirations, motivations, concerns and outlook? Are they happy? Pittsburgh Quarterly’s Alayna Jones visited Pittsburgh-​area places, ranging from the…

On a Pedestal: Magee-​Womens Research Institute

Many Pittsburghers have a somewhat vague idea that the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC successfully attract federal dollars to support their varied research activities. But the extent of that success in recent years is almost shocking when you look at the numbers and the rankings.

Why We Don’t Take Our Meds (Again)

Recently, two journalists (Tim Harford and Simon Kuper) working for the Financial Times of London attended the FT Weekend Festival. The topic of their onstage conversation was “the nightmare of writing a weekly column.” Tell me about it.

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

by Douglas Heuck
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…

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…

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.

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.
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