January 8, 2017 § Leave a comment

“Pittsburgh entered the core of my heart when I was a boy and cannot be torn out.”
Andrew Carnegie





“Pittsburgh was even more vital, more creative, more hungry for culture than New York. Pittsburgh was the birthplace of my writing.”
Willa Cather


Greatness is within…


“The average newspaper boy in Pittsburgh knows more about the universe than did Galileo, Aristotle, Leonardo, or any of those other guys who were so smart they only needed one name.”
Daniel M. Gilbert




“Pittsburgh. I’d been there. One of the most underrated cities in North America. People who’d never been there thought of it as a graveyard of abandoned steel mills, but it was a beautiful city, and it would be good to have it back.”
Steven Brust




“If you’re not from Pittsburgh, I should probably explain that “yinzers” are people with heavy Pittsburgh accents. For example, instead of “you” or “y’all,” they say “yinz.” Another feature of yinzers is that they wear Steelers apparel at all times, including in the workplace and at weddings.”
Jesse Andrews




Saturday, July 21, 2012

July 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

For all of the Op-Eds that are concise, provocative and worth emailing
the link to friends, I just haven’t found one that expresses my
reaction to the Aurora theater shooting. I hope you don’t mind my
writing to you about it here in my blog as I rarely write my own words, preferring to include quotes instead.

First of all, my take is most certainly shaped by my life experiences
including never having kids. I have also never gone to any of the
Batman movies, ever. I saw Batman, Robin, Frank Gorshin’s clever
Riddler, Caesar Romero as The Joker, Batwoman, et al back on television in the 1960s.

Living within American culture however, I have been aware of Batman
movies, in particular one where Keith Ledger played an evil villain in
a Batman film that came out after his memorable character in Brokeback
Mountain. It was around the time of that Batman movie coming out that
Ledger died from an overdose.

At the time, I felt sad and wondered if playing such an evil character
had somehow corroded his soul. If the experience of getting into such
an evil character had prevented Ledger from fully coming back – that
is, leaving the character behind. Was the overdose from an attempt to
drown out the character? We’ll never know.

Recently I was reminded of that Joker character though. Apparently the
Aurora shooter identified with this “Joker” character.

The media coverage including the first opinion pieces are all over the
place. And the rhetoric about gun control and many other “reasons”
cited. One of them was about a law allowing the carrying of guns into
public places. I can’t even imagine going to the movies by myself much
less buying a weapon and then taking it in my handbag to go into a
public place like a theater.

What about a culture that promotes and even rewards violence? Isn’t
there any culpability of Hollywood’s portrayal of evil in characters
like that Joker in the Batman films? I’ve watched a 13 year old nephew
so engrossed in his extremely violent video games, shooting both “bad”
guys and “good” guys alike. One video game showed him mowing people
down with a car. I felt alarmed as well as sick when I observed his
intensity and had to make an excuse to leave the room.

There are corrosive effects of violence in films, video games and
other forms of entertainment. But that’s the problem – the concept of
entertainment. Farmers’ markets, museums, gardening and so many other
analog activities aren’t even on the radar of many young people.

How can parents, teachers, coaches and other mentors of children and
young people begin to change our tacit acceptance of addictive,
violent entertainment? Is violence part of life? Of course. Any amount
of time spent in nature will demonstrate the seemingly arbitrary life
and death interactions of all the living things in nature.

Like most people, I am trying to digest this latest senseless tragedy
and make sense of it. Some things in life just seem beyond
comprehension though.

Will the huge theater multiplexes become a thing of the past? Will the
major film studios release DVD and streaming video versions of films
rather than big-media-events in theaters? Probably not.

I’d like to see drive-in movie theaters make a come-back. Making a
picnic and taking the family or group of friends sounds like a really
pleasant Summer evening.

* * *

Apache Drive-In Theater” by R. Svirskas


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Favorite Op-Ed writer.

March 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

Verlyn’s latest and his perspective on the desert was exquisite. Enjoy!


February 18, 2012

In a Lenten Season


Some may think of Lent as a time to make up for the excesses of Mardi
Gras. But Lent, which begins Wednesday, isn’t a time of recovery. To
Christians, it’s a 40-day season of preparation for Easter, the
holiest day in the liturgical year. But the idea of Lent can be
embraced by all of us, religious or otherwise.

“What are you giving up for Lent?” is something you hear from all
sorts of people. Yet there’s something tricky about the secular notion
of Lent. You give up something personally important, so its absence
will remind you of your purpose in giving it up, but not so important
that it disrupts life much. You give up chocolate, but not
refrigeration. Bread, but not the Internet. Coffee, but not “Downton
Abbey.” Americans are not a naturally ascetic people, and it shows.
Fasting lies at the heart of Lent, and most of us are not fasters. We
choose our Lenten sacrifices from a very short menu.

But what if this were really a season for renunciation, even for
non-believers? In the ancestral stories of nearly every culture,
wisdom comes from the bare places, from deserts and dry mountains. The
season of Lent itself is based on a “wilderness” — the one in which
Jesus fasted for 40 days after his baptism.

It’s common to read this story and others like it as though the
wilderness were little more than a blank backdrop. I read it a
different way. Wisdom comes from the bare places because they force
humility upon us. In these Lenten places, where life thrives on almost
nothing, we can see clearly how large a shadow modern life and
consumption cast upon the earth. In secular terms, Lent seems the
opposite of Christmas — “What are you giving up?” versus “What are you
getting?” Perhaps it might be a season in which to learn the value of
abstention and to consider how to let the bare places flourish, or
even simply to exist.

* *




Writing Career Gets Harder: OpEd LA Times

August 30, 2011 § 1 Comment

I am an optimistic romantic or a romantic optimist. Yes, writing and getting published and paid is very hard work and not for everyone. Personally, I would like to see more employed writers share their success stories in terms of snapshots of typical days of writing.  However, articles like this one provide a somewhat grounded perspective:


OpEdNews: Talented writer worth following

August 30, 2011 § Leave a comment


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