R.I.P. Vincent’s Hair Stylists

“After that, I made myself a promise. When I become a hairdresser, I will never cut a guy’s hair too short if that’s not how he wants it. A lot of these places, you go in and they take off too much. I’ll never be like that,” Vincent lamented to me during a haircut.

Vincent’s Hair Stylists was only a few doors up from the apartment I lived in at Sixteenth and Pine Streets. The classic red, white and blue swirly thing that’s the universal sign for barber shop caught my eye shortly after I moved in, and my intrigue grew at a pace closely matching the length of my hair. Something about the facade seemed safe and inviting, and it wasn’t the dated portraits of young people from the 1980s.

Or was it?

“In the 60s, long hair on a guy was considered truly rebellious. It’s not like that any more.”

Last Thursday, December the 23rd, was my last haircut at Vincent’s. He was the kind of man who had so many adventures to describe that the pressure was never on me. He listened intently, but always had a related anecdote to tell when I was done speaking. If I mentioned something about my bike ride to his shop, he’d tell me about his motorcycle. If I mentioned a recent camping trip, he’d tell me about his next vacation to Florida.

Vincent is 69 years old, although I’d think he was more of a healthy 61. He’s retiring, and his shop will be revamped and revitalized, leaving behind a trendy salon in its place. I’ll miss the yellow walls, vintage flooring and a bold bald man who never cut my hair too short.

Pittsburgh, PA

pittsburgh skyline 2010

I spent the past few days in Pittsburgh, visiting the fam and checking in on the city.

We went to the Warhol, my favorite gallery period. They had a two-floor Marilyn Monroe exhibit, and a bigger video room than I remember seeing there on my last visit. My favorite was Fight, which was a hilarious dramatization of bickering punctuated by a blind man looking for a quarter on the floor. I also watched Andy talk on the phone to a friend for a few minutes. (The personal camcorder had just been released, which sparked his taping of the mundane.) It struck me as a poignant parody of today’s smart phone craze – a device that enables us to record photos and videos wherever we are. I’m not insinuating that his generation was void of narcism and unaware of technology’s evolving ability to document the innane, but I do think it’s fascinating that the observations and commentary of Warhol’s work thirty years ago only gets more reflective as time passes.

We tried to go to Conflict Kitchen, the restaurant concept I heard about on NPR a few months ago, but they were closed for the holidays.

We always joke that the city is stuck in the 90s, but our visit to the  American Apparel and Apple stores forced me to up it to 2003.

Where TVs go after they die

Electronic waste dumped in residential area just outside of Alaba market in Lagos. This e-waste is routinely burned here.

Check out an excellent interview with Jim Puckett, executive director of the Basel Action Network on Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

In the interview, Puckett explains why certain toxic components of our devices are un-recycleable, and how 80% of techno-waste that U.S. consumers take to a recycling center ends up in  China, Nigeria, India, Vietnam and Pakistan. Needless to say, the toxic stuff stays toxic, and causes great harm to the workers and residents of those countries.

Cous! Cous!

I have an amazing recipe for couscous! I borrowed it completely from the always yummy shutterbean. The ingredients are inexpensive, it’s easy to make and keeps well as a leftover. It travels well too — great for packing for lunch!

There are a couple of things I do differently; I chop the onions and keep them in a separate container rather than tossing it in with the rest of the ingredients, otherwise they over power everything else.

First you gotta cook the couscous. I use a tri-color blend, with spinach, tomato and something else. I get it at the Reading Terminal but I’ve seen it in other stores. Cook according to directions on the jar.

 

 

 

Chop a red onion:

 

 

 

Drain & rinse a can of chickpeas:

 

 

Next I drop in a bunch of cherry tomatoes and a pack of feta (both from Trader Joe’s):

 

I drop in a whole jar of sun-dried tomatoes, too:

 

 

Next I drop in a bunch of basil, pepper and squeeze half a lemon over the whole thing. Dig in!

Thanks again shutterbean!