Opinion

Why China Is Ready to Fall Apart

In the 1980s, almost four decades into Cold War I, President Reagan dramatically ratcheted up the pressure on the Soviet Union by expanding and modernizing the U.S. military and launching his famous “Star Wars” (Strategic Defense) Initiative.

Fairy Tale or Future: The Choice Is Ours

The Amazon HQ2 spectacle was a grand 21st Century fairy tale. It had everything: the world’s richest company promising happily-​ever-​after status to the city that would win its second headquarters, $5 billion in investment and 50,000 jobs.

On a Pedestal: Pittsburgh Playhouse, Literacy Pittsburgh

The Pittsburgh Playhouse at Point Park University made its debut Oct. 11, opening its doors to a new era for the school, its students, theatergoers and the city. It’s built to impress. From its three-​story-​wide lobby bathed in natural light to a 550-​seat theater designed to give passersby outside a…

The Dangerous Necessity of Beauty

At one time I took for granted the traditional definition of beauty — id quod visum placet — that which when seen pleases. Eventually I came to see that this was much too narrow a definition. It did not include what could be called beautiful when heard, touched, tasted, felt or otherwise experienced. That…

A Turning Point for Troubled Times

By almost any objective measure, life in America has never been better. We’re not at war. Poverty is low, unemployment’s even lower, and stocks are sky high. Homicide rates are about where they were in 1950 and half of what they were in 1980. And medical care is better than…

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…

A Day of Reflection

It was a warm, clear, sunny, wonderful day with a deep blue sky, so untypical for Pittsburgh. I remember it like it was yesterday, although some three-​plus decades have since passed. The city is noted for being one of the cloudiest in the US, ranking up there with Seattle and…

What’s Right, What’s Left?

So much of modern culture seems bent on eliminating humanity from life itself. In many instances, this is identified as progress. But is it?

I’d Find You Again

There’s this line in a Lukas Nelson song that goes, “If I started over I’d find you again.” I have no sense of direction, so I hope this is possible for me, but salmon do it all the time.

The Brush Hog: Thoughts on a Fall Field Cutting

by David Macpherson
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.

Spinning Out of Control

Working from home for the past year has provided me with a one-​minute commute to my home office and easy access to my favorite meal replacement — potato chips and dip. One of these perks resulted in my favorite jeans shrinking considerably and the realization that it was time to again try…

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.…
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