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Pittsburgh: A “Most Livable City” with Heart

7 May

Though I have a friend who would VEHEMENTLY disagree, but, Pittsburgh has been named the Most Livable City in the United States, YET  AGAIN, by Forbes Magazine! (We’ve also ranked 29th worldwide. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself!)

I mean, I want a beach house as much as the next person, but I love Pittsburgh and I have no intentions of leaving. I used to have the whole, wah, wah, wah, Pittsburgh-is-lame mentality, too. That was until I really opened my eyes to all that Pittsburgh has to offer. I mean, we truly have a plethora of opportunity right here at home in “Da’ Burgh!” Some of the best schools and universities, some of the best hospitals, some of the best malls, some fabulous dining and nightlife spots, casinos, some WORLD CLASS professional and college sports teams, and one of the best skylines in the world, as well as some awesome parks and recreational venues – what isn’t to love? We have the big-city-meets-small-town atmosphere, a perfect mix of blue-collar and luxe, and are just a stone’s throw away from a rural, country environment if we want that, instead.

Additionally, we have such a rich and interesting history and so many fun and quirky historical and trivia facts that make Pittsburgh unique. We have Mr. Rogers and Kennywood. We have the Inclines. We have the best fireworks anywhere. We have the most bridges in the world. Dignitaries choose to host major events here because, well, our city is so darn pretty – and, accomodating! Yeah, we have the Pirates, too, and the crappy roads, construction, and winters – but you can’t win ’em all.

Let’s talk about cost of living. I can tell you this – to have the home that I own elsewhere, well, to put it simply, there’s no way it would even be within my realm of affordability. The cost of living is great, we have comparably low crime rates compared to other cities our size, a nice arts scene, fairly low unemployment rate, and we have great things coming our way in terms of technology and going-green initiatives.

And the people – Pittsburgh is full of some NICE people. Granted, there ARE some “yinzers” out there, and the local media always chooses to put some real class acts on the news (why?!?) – but there are truly some really nice people in Pittsburgh. Any time out-of-towners come to visit they all say the same thing: they can’t get over how COOL and how NICE and friendly the people in Pittsburgh seem.

It makes me proud to be a Pittsburgher. I’m sure that Forbes only takes into account socioeconomic criteria and that’s fine – I’m proud of that stuff, too. But I’m proud of the other things, too. The beautiful view out the window of my Station Square office. The feeling of camaraderie and sense of community at a Steelers game. The vast array of awesome landmarks and museums and theaters and gardens and parks and boutiques and bakeries and the quirky little things that you might not know existed in Pittsburgh, but do. The hiking trails and biking trails and jet skis and kayaks on the river. The statues along the River Walk. The historic churches and the Potato Patch at Kennywood.

We might have some awesome schools – hey, I graduated from college at Pitt and went to one of the best high schools in the area, so I’ll never argue THAT fact – and we DO have some fantastic communities – I live in one of them. We might have some amazing hospitals with stunning advancements in research, and CMU with groundbreaking advancements in technology.  Our cost of living is amazing and we have a lot to offer to residents. But, I think, that Forbes missed something and that is our heart.

Pittsburgh IS the most livable city, but not just because of all the logistical, measurable outcomes.

It’s because Pittsburgh HAS HEART!

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To see the Forbes list slideshow, click here.

To read the Post Gazette article on Pittsburgh being named Most Livable City click  here.

To read my past BarSmart City Chatter post on Why I Love Pittsburgh click here.

Big Ben Article in Sports Illustrated: Is his Image Beyond Repair?

7 May

I pose this question to EVERYONE – PR professionals, women, Steeler fans, sports analysts, old ladies, religious zealots, people who care, people who don’t care – is Big Ben’s image beyond repair? Moreoever, does it deserve repair? Does he deserve a 2nd chance?

If you haven’t read the 5-page article on Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in Sports Illustrated yet, read it. (And, to you, from me, a present – here’s the link: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1169185/index.htm)

We already knew the facts: young, super star quarterback. Was in a motorcycle accident. Was accused of sexual assault once. Then again. Rumors swirled of more “covered up” allegations. All of the sudden, local radio stations were swarmed with phone calls from young women talking about what a jerk he was to them, and so on.

That type of backlash was to be expected.

Then former teammates started dishing that he was never liked among his peers in the locker room. And now this. This article digs a little deeper. Bar owners and people who claim to have known Ben for awhile shed more light on the story. He was cheap, rude, arrogant, disrespectful, crude to women, and so on. The author of the article told KDKA yesterday that, if he’d wanted to, he could have made Ben look A LOT WORSE if he’d wanted to.

Well, Ben already looks pretty bad, so that isn’t saying a whole lot, now is it?

My question is this: can Big Ben’s image be repaired, or has the damage been done? Is a winning season and some counseling sessions enough? What about community service? What if he dates a nice girl? Goes to church? I mean what WOULD help this guy? I can’t even fathom what it would take to change MY personal opinion of him now.

Who IS doing his PR, anyway? First off, who LET him “apologize” with the mullet? For someone trying to convince the world he wasn’t a rapist, he certainly didn’t hire the right stylist. He could have at LEAST taken the time to shave. Or bathe. I mean, the mullet was bad enough. But the fact that it looked like he hadn’t seen a shower in weeks? Gross.

A part of me – the kindhearted, forgiving, see-the-good-in-everyone, part of me, wants to be able to be sympathetic to Ben. I want to say, hey, Ben, give me a call – I’ll give you the chance to tell YOUR side of the story. Totally unabashedly, without judgement, and honestly. And then, I want to actually BELIEVE what he says.

Notice I said I WANT to be able to do that all. But I can’t. I can’t bring myself to change how I feel, and what I feel, is that, seemingly, he’s kind of a jerk. Do I know him personally? No. Am I saying he deserves all of this? I don’t know. As I said, I don’t know him, I don’t know what’s true and what isn’t. I will say this, though – guilty or not, he’s made some mistakes. He needs to do something to turn his life around, and, if he wants to stick around in Pittsburgh, and if he EVER wants to gain back the respect of Steeler Nation (does he even DESERVE the respect of Steeler Nation?!?) he needs to do SOMETHING to repair his image.

But what?

That’s what I want to know. What can he do? I don’t even know. What are all of YOUR thoughts??

Some Super-cool Happenings in Pittsburgh! The Burgh Blast, TypeWriter Girls, Asian Film Festival, Arthritis Walk at Kennywood, Mother’s Day, Persad Art Auction, Race for a Cure and More!

7 May

TONITE – May 7th, 2010 – The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh will host the Burgh Blast from 7pm-11pm featuring the music of No Bad Juju, hairstyles by Izazu Salon, an appearance by Pittsburgh rock legend Donnie Iris, refreshments from Rita’s Italian Ice, the Pittsburgh Yinz! Play exhibit, museum exhibits, and more! Please note: tickets are for the 21+ crowd only and are $60 at the door. All proceeds benefit the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. Visit their website for more details: http://www.pittsburghkids.org/tickets or email blast@pittsburghkids.org

Tonight is also the 5th Annual Asian American Film Festival at Pittsburgh Harris Theater. Silk Screen will be showing approximately 20 films from Asia and it will be sure to feature exotic locales and beautiful scenery! Visit www.silkscreenfestival.org for details!

Also tonight – The TypeWriter Girls Go Green! The TypeWriter Girls Avant Garde Poetry Cabaret perform one of their “infamous” spoken poetry sessions with a “go green” theme to benefit the Landslide Community Farm in honor of World Environment Day. The event is at Istanbul on Butler Street in Pittsburgh, at 7:30. Cost is donation-based with a minimum of $7 being accepted at the door. For more information, click here.

TOMORROW – May 8th, 2010 – Arthritis Foundation of Western PA hosts a 5K Arthritis Walk, Wellness and Juvenile Arthritis Family Fun Day at Kennywood Park! Get more info here -> http://WpaArthritisWalk.kintera.org or visit their website at http://westernpennsylvania.arthritis.org

Also – Don’t forget – Sunday is Mother’s Day! So happy Mother’s Day weekend to all! Be sure to tell YOUR mom or mother-figure how much SHE means to YOU! Also, don’t forget it’s also the 18th Annual Komen Pittsburgh Race for a Cure to benefit breast cancer awareness! Here’s their website for more information: http://www.pittsburghraceforthecure.org/

Last but not least – Monday, May 10th, 2010 – The Persad Center of Pittsburgh hosts its annual, “Celebrate Life, Celebrate Art” event at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Oakland. This art auction will be featuring works from 200 regional, national and international artists and is sure to be a can’t-miss event benefitting the worth cause of the Persad Center.

Get out there, Pittsburgh, and enjoy yourself!

On a personal note, this weekend is special to me – happy 50th Birthday to my Dad (May 8th) and ALSO Happy College Graduation to my brother Ryan on May 8th, as well!  And OF COURSE a Happy Mother’s Day to my MOMMY, Nana, and Grandma, as well!  ❤  xoxo