I'll end a long blogging layoff with congratulations to the Pittsburgh Steelers for an exciting Super Bowl victory.
Pittsburgh occupies a warm place in my heart; it's Cami's hometown and its blue-collar, heavy-industrial heritage reminds me of my own hometown of Baltimore. It's a city of neighborhoods and ethnic enclaves that change from hill to hill. Pittsburghers have their own unique accent ("yinz" means "you all"), their own unique foods, and a singular physical setting at the confluence of three rivers.
Pittsburgh, perhaps because of its unfortunate name, often surprises visitors with its beauty. Driving to city from the south, one enters the Ft. Pitt tunnel, where everything goes dark, then finally, "blam!". You're suddenly hit with a postcard view of the "golden triangle," that area of downtown where the three rivers meet. It's like looking down on a mini-Manhattan: you see modern architecture mixing with sturdy bridges, with boats floating along the water. It instantly feels intimate, like it's your own little jewel of a city.
The steel industry has basically disappeared, but somehow, PIttsburgh manages to survive. The city has a couple of top-tier research institutions, which attract a steady stream of intelligent, ambitious people from around the world.
Sure, the weather's lousy, and there are tons of residual infrastructure problems to solve, but somehow, despite it all, PIttsburgh is shaping up to become a phoenix city of the rust belt.