🗣 How to lose a yinzer accent in seven days
Plus, a "hostile takeover" in Harrisburg.
Hello and welcome to Wednesday.
Don't tell Deb at the Iggle but Community College of Allegheny County is offering a new seven-day course billed as a cure for the Pittsburgh accent.
Meanwhile, I, a native New Yorker who's often self-conscious about my ability to blend in at the local Busy Beaver, am looking for a course that does exactly the opposite. Shout if you know one.
Here's what else we have for you today: Chaos in the Capitol, fake Pittsburgh sports teams we wish were real, meet an Incline Insider, crashing the Electoral College, and two local restaurants "America can't afford to lose."
What Pittsburgh is talking about
Live streams. | Tag #theinclinepgh to be featured in our Instagram of the Day. (📸: @fort_frick_412)
4 things to know today
🗳 Chaos in the Capitol. Republican lawmakers in Harrisburg blocked re-elected McKeesport Democrat Jim Brewster from taking his state Senate seat for a fourth term yesterday in a widely criticized power play with no actual bearing on the Senate's balance of power. The blockade — dubbed a "hostile takeover" by Democrats — was launched by GOP leaders who point to Brewster's razor-thin margin of victory in November (a win that's already been certified) and a legal challenge from his Republican opponent that's still playing out. The fracas that followed also saw Democratic Lieutenant Gov. and Senate President John Fetterman forcefully sidelined by the Republican majority, another move with few modern parallels. Spotlight PA has the dramatic dispatch here.
🔢 Déjà vu all over again? Eight of Pennsylvania's nine Republican members of the U.S. House say they will oppose the certification of Pennsylvania’s electors for Joe Biden when Congress meets to count electoral votes today. The move isn't expected to actually keep the president-elect from taking office, but it is poised to delay the inevitable — Congress formally confirming Biden's win. WHYY has a good explainer here.
🍽 Pittsburgh restaurants are reopening for indoor dining following the expiration of a new round of statewide COVID-19 restrictions put in place amid a dramatic autumn spike in cases and hospitalizations across the commonwealth. Restaurant owners say they're glad to be back to 50-percent capacity, but they're also shell-shocked and bracing for a post-Christmas surge and another round of restrictions that could be right around the corner. Here's their story from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
🚍 Public transit ridership is down 70 percent in Allegheny County during the pandemic. And while Port Authority confronts the financial implications of that drop — revenue is expected to fall by $66 million for the fiscal year, the lion's share of that due to plummeting fare collections — the system's customers are coping with the economic fallout of this crisis, too, with low-income riders relying on the service as much as ever while finding it increasingly difficult to afford. PublicSource has the full report.
4 things to make you smile
💛 The Post-Gazette has a new "goodness" section dedicated to "celebrating all that is good about Pittsburgh and the region in a way that 'lifts the spirits' during these uncertain times." Here's Executive Editor Stan Wischnowski with more.
🥄 There are two Pittsburgh restaurants on Esquire's list of 100 eateries America can't afford to lose: Tessaro’s in Bloomfield and J & J's Family Restaurant in Mount Washington. Find the full list here.
⚾️ Sewickley native Bianca Smith just made history, getting hired as a minor league coach by the Boston Red Sox and becoming the first Black woman coach in professional baseball. ESPN makes the introduction.
🦌 Speaking of sports … The Mexican War Street Squirrels, Sugar Top Grubby GroundHogs, and Mt. Washington Wild Turkeys are totally fake sports teams with very real merchandise thanks to a new campaign. Take a look with City Paper.
Meet our Incline members: Kimberly Stroup
Mount Lebanon resident Kimberly Stroup at the other mount. (📸: Courtesy of Kimberly Stroup)
Supporting members (aka Incline Insiders) make what we do possible, so we like to put them in the spotlight when we can. Today we’re introducing you to one of our newest Insiders, Kimberly Stroup of Mount Lebanon, with a quick Q&A:
Where in town might people run into you?
(During non-pandemic times) eating at Onion Maiden and Black Forge in Allentown, kayaking in North Park, enjoying Banjo Night at the Elks Lodge, enjoying the flowers at Phipps, shopping and walking around the Strip District, watching art and movies at Carrie Blast Furnaces, partying at Pittonkatonk in May, stretching it out at Yoga with Goats.
What made you decide to become a member of The Incline?
I read it every day and wanted to support local journalism.
What’s something you’re working on — in big ways or small — that you could use help with?
Yard work, constant yard work LOL.
What local business do you think deserves a shoutout (and why)?
Onion Maiden — amazing food, hilarious theme, and they’ve pivoted so well to weather the pandemic.
What’s a recent story you’ve read about Pittsburgh that you wish more people cared about (and why)?
I wish more people knew about and supported Pittsburgh Good Deeds — just a nice guy who decided to help his neighbors
Want your turn in the spotlight? Become an Incline member today and we'll send you a handy little form with questions like these. You'll also get special perks like event discounts, ticket giveaways, and bonus/exclusive content in the newsletter.
Things to do
Submit your events to our calendar.
✏️ Learn to draw zentangle after first learning what zentangle is in this class on the relaxing and meditative art form from Monroeville Public Library — multiple dates (Online)
🐌 Meet some of the feathered, furry, and scaly members of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s living collection while learning about animal habitats, interesting behaviors, and exciting scientific studies — multiple dates (Online)
📖 Indulge your biophilia and bibliophilia with this exploration of the connection between literature and our view of the natural world (Online)
🥁 Catch jazz legend Roger Humphries performing live for the August Wilson African American Cultural Center’s free Studio Sessions series (Online)
🐦 Learn how National Aviary specialists in Pittsburgh are helping to protect birds in the Mariana Islands from the Brown Tree Snake, an invasive species blamed for the extinction of twelve native species in Guam (Online)
➡️ Experience the second performance in artist and filmmaker Shikeith's Feeling The Spirit In The Dark exhibition at the Mattress Factory (Online)
🎭 Tune in for performances, interactive workshops, and more with EQT Children's Theater Festival @ Home — multiple dates (Online)
💡 Bring your words, ideas or just listen and offer your thoughts at the return of The Poetry Atelier, a weekly and free Zoom event — multiple dates (Online)
📜 Hear stories from behind "The Wall" in this Doors Open Pittsburgh virtual event about Western Penitentiary (Online)
Wednesday, Jan. 13
🎹 Explore the people, places, and stories that make Pittsburgh unique with jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams in this event for early learners (Online)
🎤 Check out the first installment of the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh's four-part virtual series on global choral traditions with experts in Appalachian, Gospel, Bulgarian, and South African choral music — multiple dates (Online)
One more thing ....
As a child of the 80s, there will always be just one true Batman in my book and his name is Michael Keaton and he was born in Coraopolis.
Needless to say I was thrilled to learn this week that Keaton will be returning to the role in 2022's "The Flash." I was less thrilled to learn that he'll be sharing it with Ben Affleck in what you might call a dynamic duet (here's a dramatic reenactment of my facial expression). But beggars can't be choosers.
Anyway, it looks like the hero we deserve is actually the heroes we deserve.
But not all of them wear capes: If today’s newsletter made you laugh or helped you learn something new, be a hero to our small and scrappy journalism startup and forward this email to a friend/coworker/Pittsburgher who should know about The Incline.
Thanks for reading to the bottom. We'll see you back here tomorrow.