The Sin That Dare Not Speak Its Name

Robert Strozier

When I was a boy growing up in Hyde Park, a community on the South Side of Chicago, our family belonged to the Trinity Episcopal Church.  Father Anderson, the rector, was handsome, generous-hearted and kindly, and I wanted more than anything to win his approval. His wife, Elizabeth, was warm and gracious too. My own parents were okay, but they were—you know—parents.

Father Anderson “believed” in me and hoped I’d become a priest one day. He seemed to like my sense of humor too, not that his standards were too high—his favorite comedian was George Gobel of “Well, I’ll be a dirty bird!” fame.

I was both a choirboy and an acolyte, depending on the occasion, and I’m sure I looked positively angelic in my black cassock and white surplice. But I knew I was a pious phony and unworthy to   (More…)

Chautauqua 2019

Linda Schatz

It’s 1874.  I’m a Methodist Sunday School teacher. I travel by steamship on the calm waters of Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York and arrive at a small shoreline settlement for a vacation learning experience. I’ll hear speakers on the Bible, teaching methods, science, and social issues. The roads rise gently from the lake and are only wide enough for one horse and carriage.

Wait—it’s 2019, and I’m one of several thousand knowledge and culture seekers arriving by car at Chautauqua Institution. With six of my women friends, it will be a vacation week of thought-provoking lectures, excellent dance, music, vocal and theater performances, and animated political and philosophical discussions.  Oh, and a tap dancing lesson to bring back my fun days of hopping to a beat and flexing my ankles.  (More…)

A Massage to Remember

Diane Russell

My oldest niece said, “We are all going to have a Chinese foot massage at 6 o’clock tonight – my treat!”  It would be a novel way to celebrate my sister’s upcoming wedding near San Diego in four days. What made this event so unexpected was the following back story in the autumn of 2012.

That morning I drove my husband to Chicago’s Midway Airport, so he could fly home to Tampa. He had enough of the dreary November weather and overstayed his planned visit by two weeks. Why?  (More…)

Deep Medicine

Michael Bice

Eric Topol’s Deep Medicine is a significant contribution to American medicine and should be required reading for anyone interested in the present and future of health delivery.  I read the book as a student and teacher of digital health technologies and quickly discovered that my understanding of AI and medicine is superficial at best. In my quest to overcome this deficit, I found the following observations from the Topol book to be of particular relevance.

The first major entry of AI into the practice of medicine was automated systems for reading ECGs, which were first applied in the 1970s and became routine in the 1980s.

Deep neural networks (DNN) are the driving force supporting AI innovations in health. The DNN era was made possible by these four components:  (More…)

It’s Never Too Late to Return a Book

Diane Russell

The day after my 66th birthday, I looked through the paperbacks on my bookshelf.  It was time to decide which books I would donate to the Friends of the Library for resale.

One book caught my eye, as it did every year. It was Ivanhoe, the classic authored by Sir Walter Scott.  Only the book wasn’t mine. It was lent to me 39 years earlier by John Doe (pseudonym to protect privacy).

We both participated in the 1979-80 USSR academic exchange sponsored by IREX (International Research and Exchanges Board), an international nonprofit organization specializing in global education and development.

My spouse and I befriended John and his partner in August 1979 when we all took a month-long crash course in Russian while living in the Moscow State University dormitory.  (More…)

James Museum

Shelly Belzer

A boyhood love of cowboy movies isn’t unusual, but Tom James, now chairman emeritus of Raymond James Financial, turned his love into a lifetime of art collecting and then founded a museum to house part of the collection that he and his wife, Mary, have amassed.  The James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art in St. Petersburg opened in April 2018, holding 400 paintings and sculptures, a bit more than 10 percent of the James collection. (Most of the rest of the collection fills the Raymond James corporate headquarters.)  Word about the museum got around, and one day in August the OLLI Shutterbugs went to see for themselves.  (More…)

Santa Fe and New Mexico

I’m a transplant to Santa Fe.  I grew up in Miami, graduated from FSU in Tallahassee, lived in San Francisco, Bern, Switzerland and Los Angeles.  Finally I settled here in 1994 at the age of 35.  No regrets whatsoever.  I chose to live in Santa Fe after compiling a list of pre-requisites that included:  small-size city, diverse population, vibrant arts scene, and proximity to nature.

The oldest capital city in the United States, Santa Fe celebrated its 400th anniversary in 2010.  It was located first in what was known as New Spain, then Mexico, and finally in New Mexico (a US territory that became a state in 1912).  (More...)

A Week in Sante Fe

Joyce Carpenter

It is 5:30 on a beautiful evening in New Mexico, and I am going to the pre-opera dinner at The Santa Fe Opera Theatre, where I will be fed a meal in keeping with the evening’s opera (tonight it is Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte, so Italian wines and pasta will be served). The dinner speaker will tell us about the music, the performers and the stagecraft of this particular production.

Opera goers in Santa Fe dress in anything, from tattered jeans and battered hiking boots to fabulously expensive designer creations that border on the bizarre. I happily take advantage of every opportunity to dress up, and so I am dressed in my favorite opera outfit – a rather posh cream, lace dress and sparkly shoes with high heels.  (More…)

My Novel is Wonderful!

Creativity surges through the veins of OLLI-USF members! Especially those who read OLLI Connects.  Who among us has not had our most sublime creative work reviled and rejected by some soi disant critic whose own creativity could be measured in, at most, milliliters?  But some of us vigorously respond in defense of our work, as our colleague, Derek Burke, does here.

To the Editor:

I am writing to protest your publication’s review of my last novel.  Of the many criticisms Mr. Mitchell levels at me, none merit reply, and space unfortunately forbids me from addressing more than those that time will allow.

“The novel’s numerous flaws,” pronounces Mr. Mitchell, “Include clumsy writing, embarrassing dialog, awkward pacing, and ludicrous plot resolutions. Almost every page is seriously marred by  (More…)

A Woodstock Reunion

Joseph McAuliffe

Last November, the McAuliffe family celebrated my brother John’s 70th birthday in New York City by attending the Syracuse – Notre Dame football game at Yankee Stadium. Syracuse and Notre Dame were part of my late parents’ legacy. They were from Syracuse, my mother graduated from Syracuse University and my dad was a Notre Dame graduate. My father would have been happy that weekend because Notre Dame won, but few of us watched the game because we spent most of the time doing what McAuliffes do when they get together… we tell stories.  (More…)