Wednesday, November 21, 2012

On Bullying

Here's my latest piece in ENR, which is my second personal essay for the magazine's Viewpoint section:

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Homewood monuments, Frick Park gatehouse

With acreage running up alongside Homewood Cemetery, Frick Park's woods and valleys and cliffsides merge with rolling land of the cemetery, where deer graze in large groups and joggers and bikers recreate. This mausoleum is one of many in the old cemetery.

This stone structure, along Forbes Avenue and one of many stone structures in Frick Park, is another example of the great style Pittsburgh's old city parks. In the photo, to the right of the gatehouse lies a stone basin, ripped from its base and toppled to the ground. The basin was part of a fountain, not functioning for a long while and in pieces for years. It's some pretty obvious evidence that the city's parks need a lot more attention than they are now getting, no offense to the many people who are working hard to make them better and are at least partly succeeding in that task.
In Frick, Schenley and Riverview parks--the great old sprawling city parks founded by the city's early bluebloods--the story's the same. Stone structures and walls, historical spots, shelters and more need attention. Maybe it's time to establish corporate sponsorships for parts of our city parks?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Bigfoot in Pittsburgh?

This funny-looking, apparently man-made shelter near a trail behind the patch of woods edging the lawn bowling courts in Frick Park might be mistaken by some of the cast of "Finding Bigfoot" for a sasquatch hut.
"Could be a squatch huntin blind... Yeah I think that's DEFINITELY what it is," I imagine Bo Bo would say. Whatever it is, I like it:
The lichen, moss and plenty of wildlife love Frick Park, though I just have this stone wall and tree combo to prove it:

Frick Park at dusk

Most of the leaves are long down, but the weather was nice and people were out enjoying Frick Park this afternoon. I took a couple shots in the park, including this one of an entrance opposite the Frick Art and Hiistorical Center:
Behind this entrance, actually on the right of it and behind, down a side street, a film crew was shooting a scene at the big iron gates there.
Inside the park, joggers and bikers, strolling couples and all sorts of folks, including plenty of happy dog walkers and smiling dogs, gave the lie to the notion that Pittsburgh is full of a bunch of fatties.
I like the stonework throughout the park. With architecture like this, it's easy to see why Frick Park is one of the great old parks of Pittsburgh. And with its winding trails and dramatic topography, Frick has a lot in common with Riverview Park in the North Side, and nearby Schenley Park, in Squirrel Hill.
This shot is inside Frick Park, of a bench waiting to become someone's temporary seat:

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Many Moons

This picture was taken during a Double Quartet practice at Kiski School, one of the last boys boarding schools in the nation. Our Glee Club sang "Moon River" back then, which is how I learned what a lovely song it is. The Double Quartet sang "Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair" and other tunes back then. I was a second tenor, and have my Irish ancestors to thank for it.
I have my old classmate Kelly Pidgeon (the Headmaster's son, no less, wearing the Rush shirt) to thank for the picture, though I hear he got it from some Kiski flack who's been spreadin rumors that I was once a Kiski Boy.
It's true, I was. I also was fond of Sperry Topsiders, LL Bean Blucher Mocs, pink oxfords, whale-themed belts, upturned Polo shirt collars, and similar apparel back then.
But I've still got the voice.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Wilford Payne at Alma Illery Health Clinic, Homewood neighborhood, Pittsburgh PA

I finally saw this segment on health care in America, which I helped with by connecting with the health care center and getting Mr. Payne to agree to allow the ARTE TV jorunalists to come and interview and film him and others there.
When I spoke with Payne a few times that day, prior to the interview, he became more frustrated with my inability to get an OK to allow the Frenchmen to come to another health care center, which is under the management of Alma Illery Center.
I told him the guys just wanted to talk about Obamacare, and its impact.
"It hasn't had any effect," Payne said. "Or almost none. Now insurers have to cover children longer but other than that, it's had no effect."
I could tell he was going to be a good interview. When Vladimir Vasak and Sebastian Guisset spoke with me after the interview, they were excited. Later, they called Payne one of "Pittsburgh's Heroes."
In the segment on Homewood and health care, Payne opines: "I think the question becomes, is health care a right, or a privilege? And I think it's a right."
I had a similar discussion with Vladimir on the phone prior to them coming here, when I said I thought health care is simply a human right. "We do, too," Vladimir said. Then he asked me, but what do those who are against Obamacare say about the people who say they need it?
"They say that those who don't have health care are lazy, and don't work hard enough," I said.
In the Homewood segment, the French actually had some writing, a comment of their own on Payne, including: "We really liked this guy. How about you?"
Very much, my friends, very much indeed.