Asides: Top items of the week

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THE CHRISTMAS Price Index, which measures the cost of items in “The Twelve Days of Christmas” carol, is a tradition carried on by PNC Wealth Management, but this year’s list can cheer only the Grinch. The cost of giving a true love the items will be $27,393, or 7.7 percent more than last Yuletide. It starts off well — that partridge in a pear tree is 2.4 percent cheaper at $199.99, but those four calling birds will cost you $599.96 — 15.4 percent more. The real problem is the nine ladies dancing ($7,552.84, 20 percent higher) and the 10 lords-a-leaping ($5,243.37, 10 percent more). Maybe you can get your true love a new iPhone instead.

ALL STEELERS FANS wanted for Christmas was a playoff berth for the team, but the loss against the Baltimore Ravens on Thanksgiving set back those hopes. Worse yet, Coach Mike Tomlin really put his foot in it that night, “it” being the field on which he was not supposed to be during a Ravens kick-off return. The coach, who was forced to step out of the way, said he did not intentionally try to interfere. Although his misstep did not seem to affect the play, the NFL fined the coach $100,000 and the incident may yet cost the Steelers a draft pick. A hundred grand is too much to pay for one coach a-leaping.

AN ODD ANNIVERSARY fell on Thursday, Dec. 5, the date 80 years ago when Prohibition ended. As the Post-Gazette’s Bill Toland reported, Prohibition was not popular in Pittsburgh, where two-thirds of industrial workers were immigrants who brought their old-country thirsts with them. The city was described as “wet enough for rubber boots” and the term “speakeasy” was possibly coined here (although perhaps it was “speakeasy an’ ’at”). Pittsburgh also saw the gangster violence of the era. In a multimedia presentation, PG photographer Steve Mellon recounted one of the city’s notorious massacres — the shooting of the Volpe brothers, John, James and Arthur — in the Lower Hill District on July 29, 1932. It can be viewed at newsinteractive.post-gazette.com/​prohibition. What price Prohibition with hoodlums a-shooting?


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