Awesome Pittsburghers

Whenever I am asked why the heck I love Pittsburgh so much, I try so hard to avoid the standard “the people” answer, but really, a huge part of it is The People!

1. This little dude is 11, goes to Avonworth, and is the youngest app designer yet, with his own rock, paper, scissors app in the iTunes store. Not only that, he’s donating a portion of the proceeds to several children’s charities in Haiti.  He’s SO going to be the next Zuckerberg.

Also, my sister Ta-Ta asked my mother, who in this case we will call “Dottie,” if she put any apps on her iPod Touch yet and Dottie said, “What are apps?”

Try the veal!

2. The dean of the school of engineering at Pitt knew how fed up and on edge the students have been about all the bomb threats and decided to give them all a treat one day — a table full of apples and cookies.

As seen on the school’s Facebook page, “Here’s Yvette Moore and Lauren Byland at the TLC apple & cookie table – so far apples are being favored over cookies (until that afternoon sugar rush is needed).”

I know you think it’s beer, but it’s actually COOKIES that make everything better. True story.

Trust me. I have my PhD in Cookie Therapy. Cookie Monster was my thesis advisor.

3. The greatest neighbor of all said some fantastic things in his life, and I found them thanks to this article UK author Scott Jordan Harris wrote about Mister Rogers for the Chicago Sun Times. It is a must read for any Pittsburgher.

Why in the world couldn’t we use this thing called television for the broadcasting of grace through the land? – Mr Rogers

“We all have only one life to live on Earth. And through television we have the choice of encouraging others to demean this life or to cherish it.” – Mr Rogers

“I feel so strongly that deep and simple is far more essential than shallow and complex.” – Mr Rogers

“The space between the television screen and whoever happens to be receiving [its message]: I consider that to be very holy ground.” – Mr Rogers

“Anyone who does anything to help a child in his life is a hero to me.” – Mr Rogers

And this from the author will make you tear up:

Brilliant as they are, there is no flash of satire on “The Simpsons” or subtly acted scene in “The Sopranos” that can compete with the profundity of Mr Rogers simply lifting a dead fish from his tank and helping a million children to be at ease with their mortality. And what is a perfectly executed story arc on “The Wire” compared to the knowledge that Mr Rogers loved generations of young minds enough to instill in them the conviction that there is no one in this world who is a mistake, no matter how different from you they are or how strange they seem?

“Mister Rogers & Me” is a challenging film. In fact, it ends with Benjamin Wagner issuing a direct challenge to the audience: “How will you contribute depth and simplicity to a shallow and complex world? How will you honor those who loved you into being?” Those are questions we should all ask ourselves. And they are questions we should all force ourselves to answer.

I hope Mister Rogers found Roberto Clemente up in heaven because they would have so much to talk about.

(h/t Jonathan)


  1. Gina
    April 13, 2012 10:16 am

    I’m sorry, but it’s not beer OR cookies. It’s bacon.

    • Virginia
      April 13, 2012 10:23 am

      You may be on to something there. But do you have your PhD in Bacon, is the real question here.

      • Amanda
        April 13, 2012 4:44 pm

        What about bacon beer?! (Maple Bacon Beer) I’m not sure how I could fit a cookie in there, too.

  2. bucdaddy
    April 13, 2012 10:31 am

    I know you think it’s beer, but it’s actually COOKIES that make everything better.

    Why either/or? Cookies WITH beer make everything FAN-FREAKIN’-TASTIC!

    … What, only me? I mean, come on: What’s more natural with chocolate chips than chocolate stout?

  3. Sam I Am
    April 13, 2012 10:31 am

    Reading about Mr. Rogers still makes me all teary.

  4. Susan
    April 13, 2012 10:51 am

    Walking around Pittsburgh over Easter weekend, my Eastern-PA husband said to me “What’s with all the Mr. Rogers stuff I’m seeing? Is he from here or something?” Over the years I thought I had done a decent job of educating him about all of the great people from Pittsburgh, but clearly I have failed.

    And even though he is a Flyers fan, he grew up loving Mr. Rogers. So see, there is some common ground between Pens and Flyers fans. Mr. Rogers can bring anyone together!

  5. MizzPenz
    April 13, 2012 10:55 am

    Met a really cool guy at our local VFW the other day. I was, as always, wearing something that represented Pittsburgh (I think it was a Penguins sweatshirt) and we struck up a conversation. His daughter went to PITT and she is getting married at Soldiers and Sailors this summer. We were talking about the bomb threats at PITT and other assorted sports related topics when all of a sudden he said, “Hey… guess who was my daughter’s commencement speaker at her graduation???” FRED ROGERS!!! He said it was absolutely THE best speech he had ever heard in his life and will never forget it and I suppose neither will any of the other folks that were there.

  6. Butcher's Dog
    April 13, 2012 11:16 am

    The Clemente reference got me, not the previous paragraph so much. And bucdaddy…chocolate stout is definitely an acquired taste. Chocolate chip cookies come naturally. Only one can be consumed in any kind of moderation. Extra points for guessing correctly the first time.

  7. facie
    April 13, 2012 11:20 am

    I have never lived in/near another city, so I don’t have anything else to compare Pittsburgh, but I agree, the people are the biggest part of what makes the city so great. Of course, the sports are right up there (and in some ways higher), but most of us share our love of and hate for (or at least disgust and depression as far as the Pirates go) our teams.

    Thanks for sharing the article about Mr. Rogers. I cried the day he died. It is sad to think that so many kids today have little to no idea who he was.

    Speaking of cookies, a few weeks ago, I discovered the black and white cookie at the Big Bird. I had never seen them anywhere other than on Seinfeld before that. These ones did make everything all better. :-)

  8. Hawki
    April 13, 2012 11:57 am

    Don’t know whether they come to us that way or they catch the Pittsburgh virus after arrival, but we got a bunch of awesome burghers in training even as we speak — presumably Mister Rogers alumni.

  9. Margie
    April 13, 2012 12:51 pm

    Aidan is a great kid. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting he and his parents – good people.

  10. PA Girl in VA
    April 13, 2012 1:47 pm

    Wait, so Dottie’s iPod Touch IS working again now after all that water damage?

  11. Joanna
    April 13, 2012 3:22 pm

    Every time I see Mr. Rogers’ face I hear “You Can Never Go Down the Drain” in my head and can’t help but smile.

  12. Craig
    April 17, 2012 7:42 pm

    Loved the Mister Rogers film, what a treasure. Also loved that Bo Lozoff was a part of the film.