Essential Pittsburgh

Arts & Culture
7:06 am
Fri April 18, 2014

A 17th century emoticon? CMU professor who originated the "smiley" responds

Credit Edward Everett Hale, 1904 (via Wikimedia Commons)

An online debate broke out earlier this week over two otherwise unremarkable lines in a 1648 poem by the English poet Robert Herrick:

Tumble me down, and I will sit / Upon my ruins, (smiling yet :)

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:00 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Wagner: Campaign Finance Reform, Education Funding Top Priorities

Gubernatorial candidate Jack Wagner
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

After an unsuccessful run for mayor of Pittsburgh, former Pennsylvania auditor general Jack Wagner has thrown his hat into the gubernatorial ring.

Currently, he is the only candidate from Western Pennsylvania seeking the Democratic nomination, but he said he plans to focus his campaign on the entire state.

He’s late to the race and behind in fundraising. He acknowledged he’s up against candidates with much more personal wealth than he has, but said he intends to work hard on fundraising. He went on to say that if elected, one of his priorities would be campaign finance reform.

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Essential Pittsburgh
10:32 am
Fri January 24, 2014

How Close Are You To Finishing Our Pittsburgh Bucket List?

There's always lots to do in the Steel City, but there are certainly things you *need* to do as a Pittsburgher.
Flickr user jmd41280

Now that we’re three weeks into the new year, it might be a good time to evaluate your progress on your new year's resolution.

Or, if you’re in the market for a new goal, try ours: Here’s a list of 51 things that every Pittsburgher should do at least once. Try to cross all 51 off the list before you, ahem, before 2014 kicks the bucket.

(Have your own ideas for must-do Pittsburgh activities? Share your own Pittsburgh Bucket List with us on Twitter and Facebook: #PghBucketList.)

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:10 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Internet Essentials Hopes to Help Close 'Digital Divide'

Students rely on internet access inside and outside of school for homework, research, and communication
Credit Flickr

Lack of Internet access can puts some kids at an academic disadvantage, says Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Linda Lane.

Comcast and Pittsburgh Public Schools are teaming together to offer another year of “Internet Essentials,” an initiative that provides low-cost Internet service to low-income families.

“Parents may have iPads, they may have smartphones that have connectivity, they may have desktop computers that are hooked to the Internet, or laptops,” Lane said. “But then we also have children who may have little of that or none at all, so that their access to the Internet is only at school.”

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Government & Politics
4:40 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

US Senator Casey Weighs In on Syria Debate

As President Obama seeks congressional authorization for a limited military strike in Syria, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) lauded the administration's move to debate the issue with other lawmakers.

But Casey also said that he believed the president has the legal authority to conduct a strike without getting the go-ahead from Congress. He also said he thinks Obama should take action, regardless of what happens in Washington, D.C.

"I think he should act," Casey said.

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Speaking Volumes
7:28 am
Mon June 10, 2013

Weird and wonderful fiction picks from Tom Sweterlitsch

Pittsburgh writer and librarian Tom Sweterlitsch has wide-ranging reading interests in fiction. 

Stewart O'Nan, Songs for the Missing

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Speaking Volumes
3:30 am
Mon June 3, 2013

Yes, George Saunders is that good

Gary Terner likes edgy contemporary fiction and Gonzo-style sports writing.
Credit Josh Raulerson/90.5 WESA

Gary Terner of Mt. Lebanon was blown away by the new short story collection from George Saunders.

George Saunders, Tenth of December

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Speaking Volumes
3:21 am
Mon May 27, 2013

A Moveable Feast of Language

Poet Lori Jakiela says the culture is ripe for a Hemingway revival.
Credit Josh Raulerson/90.5 WESA

Lori Jakiela is a poet, a memoirist and a devotee of sparse, unsentimental prose.  

A few of the books you might encounter in her writing class at Chatham or Pitt-Greensburg:

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Speaking Volumes
3:30 am
Mon May 20, 2013

A history lesson with Prof. Patrick Dowd

Book recommendations from Councilman Patrick Dowd
Credit Josh Raulerson/90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Councilman Patrick Dowd started out as a historian, and while he's no longer in academia, his reading still reflects that background. These days Dowd reads historical nonfiction mixed with fiction "with a serious historical bent." 

Edwin Coddington, The Gettysburg Campaign: A Study in Command

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Speaking Volumes
3:30 am
Mon May 13, 2013

Jayne Adair Brings the Ruckus

Jayne Adair of Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures recommends books by recent and upcoming speakers.
Credit Josh Raulerson / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures executive director Jayne Adair's reading list is as rich and varied as her schedule of speakers.

Nathaniel Philbrick, Bunker Hill

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Speaking Volumes
4:46 am
Mon May 6, 2013

All For One, One For All

The Three Musketeers books are as much fun as you remember, says Matthias Sundberg
Credit Josh Raulerson/90.5 WESA

Matthias Sundberg, from Point Breeze, likes action and adventure stories tinged with social realism. 

Dan Baum, Nine Lives: Death and Life in New Orleans

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Speaking Volumes
3:30 am
Mon April 29, 2013

From Antietam to Nigeria with Mary Calland

Mary Fraley Calland offers book picks in history and contemporary fiction.
Credit Josh Raulerson / 90.5 WESA

Writer and Mt. Lebanon resident Mary Frailey Calland does intensive research for her Civil War era novels. In between deep dives in the archives, she reads contemporary fiction.

James McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom

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Speaking Volumes
3:32 am
Mon April 22, 2013

Dr. Mario Fischetti interprets neuroses, novels

Dr. Mario Fischetti interprets neuroses, novels at the Pittsburgh Psychiatric Center
Credit Josh Raulerson/90.5 WESA

Dr. Mario Fischetti is a clinical psychologist with the Pittsburgh Psychoanalytic Center, and the moderator of its ongoing "Reading Fiction with Freud" discussion series. 


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Speaking Volumes
3:57 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Cloak & dagger, sword & sorcery picks from Michael Lamb

Pittsburgh City Controller Michael Lamb didn't expect to be blown away by George R.R. Martin.
Credit Josh Raulerson / 90.5 WESA

When Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb isn't busy minding the city's books, he's reading history and genre fiction. 

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Speaking Volumes
3:12 am
Mon April 1, 2013

North Sider Betsy O'Neill Recalls Her 'Summer of Melville'

How much Melville is too much? Ask Betsy O'Neill.
Credit Josh Raulerson/90.5 WESA

North Sider Betsy O'Neill admits: "In a previous life, I probably lived in the 19th century." In her present incarnation, she spent the summer of 2012 immersed in Melvilliana.

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