How does this happen? 14 Months Ago White Supremacists Marched Through Charlottesville, Virginia chanting “Jews will not replace us” and President of The United States Donald Trump chastised those who called the vile bastards out, saying “THERE ARE GOOD PEOPLE ON BOTH SIDES,” encouraging and validating far right extremists of every ilk. Today, in the wake of yet another tragic instance of hate and violence, he reads words of shock and indignation from a teleprompter and wonders how this could happen. This is Trump’s America, and if you support him, his race-baiting dog whistles, and his brand of vitriolic hate-mongering, THIS IS YOUR AMERICA. You made this.
A little late, but this is a post that I can’t not make. After eleven seasons, tight end Heath Miller, the quintessential Steeler, has called it quits–here’s hoping he’s making it out with both his body and his brain intact, even though I’d have loved to see him stick around for another Lombardi trophy next February. A humble player in a world of egotists, Miller never complained about being employed as a blocking tight end, at which he excelled, while less talented players grabbed more attention as glorified wide receivers. For most of his career, he was far and away the most complete, most complete tight end in the league, a brutal blocker and sure-handed receiver. Just as importantly, he was a man whose life outside the stadiums rarely made the news, unless he was being feted as a superior citizen.
My only complaint is that it’s possible my wife liked him just a little bit more than I would have liked. Good luck to him, though, despite that–he deserves his healthy retirement.
Multi-talented Pittsburgh artist greeted friends and fans at the opening of his latest exhibit, “The Boy Who Haunted Himself” at the Borelli-Edwards Galleries at 3583 Butler Street in Lawrenceville.
Why bother unpacking? This was too fun not to share. (And they still didn’t find the Alligator in the Monongahela, either–never a dull on Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers)
One of the great things of living in Westsylvania is the vigor of our regional art community–we hit the city last night for the spring edition of Pittsburgh’s Cultural District “Gallery Crawl,” a seasonal festival of open galleries and performances downtown, all open to the public and free of charge. You wander around, in and and of the venues, and take in work from artists ranging from polished professionals to school kids. And maybe you have yourself an orgiastic beef brisket sandwich to start out the night.
We were lucky enough to briefly meet a young artist named Cody Baker, who was presiding over his first show last night. This impressive kid has the stuff–his images–to which my clumsy screen grab above do not give justice–were the work that most resonated with me from the evening–and to think, I very nearly skipped the very crowded space. I’m glad that I didn’t.
A quick word about Sally Wiggin day. Sally is the queen of Pittsburgh media, a rabid Steeler fan, and an accomplished journalist adored by all. I can’t believe that I missed it when the city of Pittsburgh City Council declared last Tuesday as “Sally Wiggin Day.”
More Pittsburgh propaganda in my continuing obsession with hyping my favorite city.
We just spend another Saturday in the city. Our justification for the day was to visit the Heinz History Center, because admission was free (how cool is that?) for the weekend and they are currently hosting the traveling exhibition of the Steam Packet Arabia, an 1850’s era steamship that sank in the Missouri river 160 years ago and was found a few years back, it’s contents wonderfully preserved by the river mud that quickly sealed it into a cold, anerobic tomb. The artifacts include Pickles that are so well preserved they could be eaten today. I’ve had a visit to the full exhibit in Kansas City on my “to do” list for years, so when a part of it came to Pittsburgh for free, there was no way we’d miss it.
There was a practical element to our trip as well–we scored imported canned tomatoes, pasta, and cheeses for the upcoming JunkChuck Holiday Lasagne (from grandma’s worn and yellowed recipe–not my grandma, mind you, but someone’s) at the legendary PA Mac–that’s the Pennsylvania Macaroni Company. Of course, it’s worth the time just to go into the place and breathe–it smells that good. Other stops included Reyna’s Mexican Groceria, one of the several Asian Markets, the delightful Pittsburgh Popcorn Company, where hipster employees joke, tell stories, and engage those enduring the inevitably long lines for the best gourmet popcorn in the world. We’re talking crazy good popcorn in all manner of varieties. Mrs. Junk and the Junkettes favored “zebra stripe,” freshly popped popcorn coated liberally with chocolate and white chocolate, but I’m an old school cheddar man. They make literally the best cheddar popcorn I’ve ever tried, and I’ve tried my share.
The weather was cool and crisp, but clear and sunny enough to keep things comfortable. My favorite part of the day, despite the popcorn binge, was our visit to the Pittsburgh Public Market, where we perused vendors whose wares ranged from handmade ravioli to custom flavored olive oil to alpaca knitted goods to–oh yes–the Growler Shop for the legendary East End Brewing Company. For a buck you can sample a brew, all of which are delightful and some more than others. I opted for one of my favorites, the Nunkin Ale (a Pumpkin ale without the pumpkin–get it?). Besides awesome brew, the best thing EEBC has going for it is the guy who mans the tap, who treats everyone like a long-lost friend, offering broad smiles and handshakes with each tranactions. I’d buy, and probably drink, used motor oil from this guy (blue and white striped shirt.)
And, please add this to my Christmas List. That’s right, it’s a vacuum-insulated 64oz beer thermos.