a newspaper man adjusts his pen

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

1968 exhibit starts out with a bang

The entrance to the 1968 exhibit at Sen. John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh plants visitors in a typical living room of the time with TV news about the Vietnam War playing on a TV near a helicopter used in that war. (History Center photo)

By Scott Beveridge

PITTSBURGH – A recording of legendary journalist Walter Cronkite reporting about the Vietnam War in 1968 plays on an old television in a living room decorated with mid-century furniture just inside the entrance to a new museum exhibit visiting Pittsburgh.

A 20-foot Bell UH-1H Huey helicopter actually used in the war is parked nearby in “1968: The Year that Rocked America” at Sen. John Heinz History Center, serving as a shocking reminder that Vietnam played out in nearly every house in America at the time.

“The Huey helicopter is literally in the living room. It starts out with a bang,” said Brady M. Smith, a communications manager at the museum at 1212 Smallman St. in Pittsburgh.

Heinz History Center is hosting through May 12 the traveling 8,000-square-foot display created by the Minnesota Historical Society about the explosive year that saw the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, free love, the civil rights and women’s movements and quirky pop culture.

The 1960s remind people today of hippies, but that wasn’t the case because most men then were still wearing buzz cuts in a culture that outwardly seemed “still in the 1950s,” Smith said.

“The whole notion that so many terrible things happened at the same time as the counterculture was gaining momentum,” he said. “1968 was when the transition started to happen. It’s an interesting year when you consider it as a whole.”

Another television reporter of the era featured in the exhibit, Mike Wallace, offered a fitting description of the year when he said “1968 just cracked the universe open for me” while giving his oral history in 1983 at Columbia University.

Wallace was a graduate student in 1968 at the New York school and participated in anti-war and civil rights movements, which he called “profound forces that transcend that moment.”

The Vietnam War reached a violent milestone that January with the surprise North Vietnamese attack known as the Tet Offensive on what should have been a cease fire on the Asian country’s New Year celebration.

Among the displays are televisions that show clips of such popular television series of the time as “Dragnet,” “Family Affair” and “Star Trek.” There is one dedicated to the Nov. 1, 1968, debut of George Romero’s cult classic “Night of the Living Dead” at the Fulton Theater in Pittsburgh.

A poster advertises Virginia Slims cigarettes, marketing them to women
with the slogan, “You’ve come a long way, baby.”

The show would not be complete without Pittsburgh’s contribution of a life-size figure of a young Fred Rogers in the year that saw the national launch of his “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” and the set he used in the show.

“That set is donated to the History Center now,” Smith said.

The exhibit ends on a positive note paying tribute to the Apollo 8 mission where astronaut William Anders in December 1968 sent back the world’s first Earthrise images from deep space while reading from the Bible’s Book of Genesis.

Among the memorabilia on display are peace, love and happiness artifacts from a time when people wore their buzzes like badges of honor. (Scott Beveridge photo)

The exhibit, “1968: The Year that Rocked America,” runs through May 12, 2013. 

This article first appeared in the March/April issue of Living Washington County magazine, a publication of the Observer-Reporter.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

If you love beer you'll love these cupcakes

                                                         Scott Beveridge photo

As someone who loves craft beer paired with chocolate, the publisher of Travel with a Beveridge decided he must try beer cupcakes. And, as someone who prefers lazy, easy recipes, he decided to employ Betty Crocker and other store-bought ingredients to make beer cupcakes AND get his friend Mary to do most of the work in her kitchen.

                                                        Scott Beveridge photo

Everyone raved about them, so much so that the editor at his real job decided to try them herself. She received identical accolades from the newsroom.

By Liz Rogers
Observer-Reporter Editor

My inspiration came after colleague Scott Beveridge mentioned he’d baked beer cupcakes to rave reviews simply by using a boxed mix and substituting Samuel Smith Imperial Stout for the water.

"Best cupcakes ever," he said.

I decided to try it for myself, but used Samuel Adams Imperial Stout instead.

After achieving similar results, I set out to see how stout would perform in a scratch recipe.

I adapted Food Network chef Dave Lieberman’s recipe (I swapped Samuel Smith Imperial Stout for the Guinness), and ended up with amazingly moist results.

If you like beer, you’ll love these: The flavor of the beer comes shining through but isn’t too overwhelming.

I skipped his frosting recipe and made my own from butter, cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla, which complemented the cake quite nicely.

A garnish of miniature pretzels provided a nice sweet and salty touch to this beer lovers’ dream.

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes
Makes 24 cupcakes. Ingredients:

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa, plus more for dusting finished cupcakes
2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch fine salt
1 bottle stout beer (I used 11.2 ounces Samuel Smith)
1 stick butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, flour, baking soda and salt. In another medium mixing bowl, combine the stout, melted butter and vanilla. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Mix in sour cream until thoroughly combined and smooth. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet mixture. Lightly grease 24 muffin tins. Divide the batter equally between muffin tins, filling each 3/4 full. Bake for about 12 minutes and then rotate the pans. Bake another 12 to 13 minutes until risen, nicely domed, and set in the middle but still soft and tender. Cool before turning out.

(The Liz Rogers recipe was first published in the Observer-Reporter)

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Civil War casualty's grave causes anger

The epitaph on this grave in Monongahela Cemetery is enough to anger Civil War historians. (Scott Beveridge photo)

By Scott Beveridge

MONONGAHELA, Pa. - Most Civil War experts will express anger after taking a look at one particular epitaph on a solidier's tombstone in historic Monongahela Cemetery.

They do so after reading the inscription on an obelisk marking the grave of Lt. Henry W. Clark, who died two days after being wounded July 4, 1863, at the Battle of Gettysburg, because every military historian worth his salt knows that battle came to an end a day earlier.

"History was still being written," explains John "Jack" Cattaneo, vice president of the cemetery's board of directors, about how the mistake was made when Clark's body was returned to Monongahela, Pa., a year after he died.

His Irish Presbyterian father, Henry, had immigrated to Monongahela and become a prominent farmer by the time he died when his son was 12 years old, Cattaneo said. In his will, he left young Henry a gold pocket watch with instructions for it to be given to him when he turned 21.

"What intervened was the Civil War," Cattaneo said.

At age 18 Clark traveled to Wheeling, W.Va., to enlist in the 1st West Virginia Cavalry, as did many other local young men.

"Henry was at Gettysburg," Cattaneo said, noting the officer survived the infamous Pickett's Charge, which dealt a heavy blow that July 3 to the Confederacy.

Clark's commander, Maj. Gen. George G. Meade, ordered him the next day to harass Conferate Gen. Robert E. Lee's retreating wagon train, mistakenly thinking his troops were carrying supplies while unarmed, Cattaneo said.

But instead, Clark met up with Lt. Gen. James Longstreet's infantry and was wounded in what would become known as the Fight at Monterey Pass during a severe thunderstorm in Washington Township, Franklin County, Pa.

Regardless, Clark was buried in the then-new cemetery with great honor after dying at age 20.

"He never got the gold pocket watch," Cattaneo said.

The cemetery will celebrate its 150th anniversary with a weeklong schedule of events during the last week of this June, including tours, a picnic, band concerts and a recognition of Pennsylvania State University's mascot, the Nittany Lion, whose creator, Harrison D. "Joe" Mason, also was buried here.

Lt. Henry W. Clark's monument at historic Monongahela Cemetery. (Scott Beveridge photo)