Normally, I'd be teaching this morning, but since it's spring break:
This morning's Post-Gazette has an interesting article about arts funding in various cities, including Pittsburgh. Once again, I wonder if some of the statistics cited--for example regarding educational levels--don't tell the full picture because they don't account for the demographic history of the region. Chris Briem has blogged about this question at Nullspace.
I just read the Sunday section from the Post-Gazette ("On the Arts") over breakfast (I parcel out the Sunday paper--actual paper--for the rest of the week's breakfasts) and found this article about Bessie Bramble interesting. The PittGirl of her day? (Yes, I know the "blogger" label applied to pre-Internet writers is getting tiresome.) And yes, I have read one of the Carole Nelson Douglas novels that mention Bessie Bramble, although the reference passed right by me at the time.
Via the Hirhurim blog, I got to this interview with four scholars of early Christianity and ancient Judaism in the Biblical Archaeology Review. This is an issue that comes up frequently for my students in Religious Studies classes, particularly introductory ones and ones that deal with antiquity. Less of an issue when I teach on the medieval and modern periods. For discussion (from the perspective of Orthodox Judaism), see Hirhurim, Dov Baer , and Wolfish Musings. I assume some Christian bloggers are discussing this, but I haven't checked.
Regarding "old books": a review in Haaretz alerted me to a new book on Jewish booksellers and the booktrade in 19th-century Eastern Europe by Hagit Cohen.
In this week's Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle, two stories about important resources for researching Pittsburgh Jewish history (and American Jewish history writ larger as well): a cemetery database and digitization of the Pittsburgh-based Jewish Criterion.
And in the category of totally pointless trivia: I have often assumed that the Springfield in "The Simpsons" must be Springfield, Mass. This article from the Boston Globe cites some of the reasons, but it leaves out what I consider the clincher: Mr. Burns takes the train to the Harvard-Yale game. (This is in the episode where Rodney Dangerfield guest start). I suppose one could take the train to New Haven from Springfield, VA; Springfield, NJ; or Springfield, PA (suburban Philadelphia?). But Springfield, Mass. to New Haven is perfect train distance. And the other northeastern Springfields are all suburbs of big cities and not central cities. It's clear that the Springfield in "The Simpsons" is the central city of a small metro area.