Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat

Since you currently have more spare time for reading, we thought we’d give you an extra OLLI Connects post this week.  Our featured writer is not technically an OLLI member.  But if he were still living and in our area, we’re sure he would be.  His work is the central piece of a larger post on the need—despite the fear it engenders—to get comfortable with online collaboration and learning the way we eventually got the hang of smart phones and Facebook.  Be honest.  There was a time when both of those terrified you.  And now they’re integral parts of your life.  COVID-19 is just giving us a kick in the pants to move us more quickly in a direction we were already kind of reluctantly going.

The first part of this post is from the most recent newsletter of UFF, the United Faculty of Florida.  (More…)

So, What Are You Up To?

Jane Applegate Belzer

When reading George Hyde’s last post in OLLI Connects, I thought: Now I know I’m not alone in seeking ways to occupy myself during this period of quasi-hibernation. While this is a home of two readers, there are other activities that we of a certain age will be doing to exercise our spirits while at home for what now sounds like a couple of months. I’d like to know what you are doing to entertain yourself during these isolating times.

I just pulled five cookbooks off my shelf to entertain myself and share with you. The Black Sea, by a British journalist, Caroline Eden, is a travel guide and cookbook to the exotic world from Odessa to Trabzon. The recipes enrich the stories of her journey through this very ancient region. If things get back to normal, we hope to go there next year. (More…)

Coping with Corona? Read On!

George Hyde

coronoavirusIf you enjoy the intellectual stimulation and social interaction that OLLI-USF offers, you’re probably a little miffed at how the Coronavirus is affecting your daily life right now and for at least a few weeks to come.

Let’s face it…government and University officials are taking prudent steps to protect us from a disease with disproportionately adverse impact on older people – “the OLLI Generation,” if you will.  Now we’re being told that one of the most important behaviors under the COVID-19 threat is “social distancing,” just as we’re settling into a schedule of Spring classes with instructors and classmates whose company and whose ideas we enjoy!  So, with OLLI classes in hiatus or cancelled, how can you avoid going stir-crazy? (More…)

Tails of Love

Don Menzel

I’m an admitted forever hopeless doggie addict. It all began when I was a fifth or sixth grader in my little home town where dogs ran free and nobody locked the doors of their homes. Must have been around 1949.  “Blackie”  and I roamed the town free as the wind. He was a cocker spaniel mix and a fierce defender of me when any of my buddies, some of whom were bullies, gave me a hard time. He didn’t know many commands, but there was one he always knew: Sic, sic, sic! Given this command, he would bolt after any person or dog or cat, whatever. And, he knew how to bite. In those days, a dog that didn’t bite was not a good dog.

Blackie was totally obedient when I whistled for him. Every winter I had to make sure his doggie house could withstand the cold blustery winter wind and snow that came howling over the Illinois plains. My mother never allowed him in the house, no matter how cold it got, and cold winters are ever present in Central Illinois.  (More…)

Mexico – Saltillo, 1972

Brenda Tipps

Early morning. I am in bed remembering that movie scene – –  you’ve seen it – – in which the wife flings a suitcase onto the bed, grabs armfuls of clothes still on their hangers, pulls open drawers, stuffs everything willy-nilly into the suitcase, slams the lid shut and departs in fury. She’s had enough.

In my mind I play my own version of this scene, in which I am the fleeing woman, here, now, in this shabby hotel in Saltillo. I could. I could tiptoe across the wooden floor, remembering the closet door that squeaks, and make my getaway while I still can, before my husband wakes up and persuades me that we’re on our way to Mexico City, where things will be so much better. I long to get away from the oppression of narrow streets, heat, and the unrelieved atmosphere of the bulls.

The final straw has been our stay at a cattle ranch far out in the country, an experience disconcerting enough never to want to repeat. So I think: I could leave. Where to? I don’t know yet.  (More…)

Tampa’s Bid to Host the Olympics

Tampa’s bid to host the 2012 Olympics was the first time a Florida city entered a bid for an Olympiad. The story starts with a decision by FASTA,  the Future Air & Surface Transportation Alliance to go forward with a Florida global airport project. Future global airports will have foot prints larger by a factor of 15 than the typical international airport. Tampa International, for example, is less than 7 square miles, is land locked and is  air space limited.  It is a great “20th Century airport.

Our typical international airports today provide excellent International and domestic air mobility but  are neither designed nor positioned for the future additional full-up Intrastate and urban air mobility. Since we knew a project like this would require the average transportation planner and others to think big, we decided to get Tampa into an Olympic bid, since few things are bigger than an Olympics.  (More…)

Billboard Bingo

We’re nearing the end of our billboard campaign, and you may not yet have seen any of the displays in the wild. So, at the end of this post, we’ll provide all the information you’ll need to find all six locations.  Our message is serious without being (Harumph!) “serious”.  We want potential OLLI-USF members to know that we are “serious” about learning for the joy of it and “serious” about the strength of the OLLI community, but that we try not to take ourselves too “seriously”.

Our thanks again to the wonderful anonymous donor who funded the project.  And to all the folks who’ve worked on it, especially Lew Alpert, Stephanie Harff, Mark Leaning, Elissa Henderson, and Bruce Shanker.

And now, what you’re looking for and how to find it.  (More…)

Here Now the Weather

Robert Strozier

Welcome to the Weather Channel.  This just in:  A damp sprinkling of the wet stuff, mixed with a wet sprinkling of the damp stuff, could spell trouble for the mile-high city by Thursday. Those of you planning to drive to the Southern corner of Indiana today should use extra caution, but Pendleton, West Virginia, is looking pretty good, if you’re thinking of doing something there.

Checking out the radar screen, the satellite picture, and the meteorological monitor, we can see that a weather alert is in partial effect along the outer edges of the Northeast Corridor, and a muggy mass of drizzle-activity is making its way toward the Mississippi Delta. Temperatures today in the Black Hills of North Dakota will be high in the low 20’s, as well as low in the high 20’s, and you can expect gusty and variable winds, sometimes gusty and variable at times.

This afternoon the bottom is expected to drop out of a gathering cold front just north of  (More…)

OLLI Gets Serious

Have you seen one yet?  One of our sort of serious “Seriously” series of bill boards, that is.  We have two different–one might say very different!–images that rip away the facade of OLLI as a bunch of boring stuff for sedentary seniors.

Our campaign, which runs from February 3 through February 23, puts these designs “into rotation” on electronic billboards in six high traffic locations in our area.  We get ten seconds out of every minute every day at two locations which means–now, let’s see if you can do the math in your head–that we’re visible for  (More…)

The “Art” of Riding Roller Coasters with Tom

Diane Russell

It was love at first sight. They met eating dinner outside at A1A Café in downtown Brandon, Florida, in October 1994. They clicked because of an unusual talent that they shared: the love of drawing cartoons!

They compared notes about drawing styles as well as unusual body and facial shapes throughout the meal and laughed often. They lingered over evening goodbyes. While one of them lived in Brandon, the other one lived in Des Plaines, Illinois. Would they ever see each other again?

I am describing the first time that my father Art, a professional cartoonist, met my future husband Tom, a high school art teacher who had drawn Popeye flip cartoons as a kid.  My dad was sold on Tom as a possible boyfriend for me after that first meeting and was determined to help out our interactions in any way that he could.  (More…)