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…)

Seriously? Seriously!!

You may not have had yesterday marked on your calendar, but it was the kickoff day of a three week campaign to put OLLI-USF in front of thousands of eyes.  Thousands and thousands of eyes!  Quite possibly yours.  Here’s the story.

Early yesterday morning, while you were still sound asleep, we launched a billboard campaign we’re calling “Seriously”.  Yes.  Seriously.   It runs through February 23.  We have two stereotype shattering designs, one of which opens this article.  You’ll find the other at the end.

These two designs will rotate (with other people’s ads) on up to six electronic billboards in our area.  Take a look at the chart below for their specific dates and locations.  If you see one or more of them,  (More…)

Luck, Skill, Fate and Attitude

We’ve recently received two posts that explored the question : “Which is more important?  The way you deal with Life or the way Life deals with you?”  Neither writer was aware of the other’s work.  Rather than publish them in separate issues of OLLI Connects, we decided to run both of them at once.  Enjoy!

Do you consider yourself an (un)lucky person? Are you a poker player? I used to be but decided that with my luck I may as well stay home. Oh, how about skill? Doesn’t poker require some skill like being able to count and remember the cards that have been played.  Sure it does!  But it didn’t matter in my case; I always lost—was unlucky, you might say. I suppose another way of putting this is to say that my “fate” was always—to lose (at poker).  Neither luck nor skill mattered.

So how do you think about luck, skill, and fate in life? Are you a “what will be will be” person? Or do you believe that through skill and some luck, the future is yours to determine? I hope your answer is  (More…)

Community of Readers & Writers

[Most of our posts allow you to just sit back, read and enjoy.  This one highlights one of our newest SIGs and invites your active participation.]

Liesse Chable

In the New York Times online, you can find the rules for a past amateur essay contest. The challenge – to tell a short, powerful, true story. You may be used to calling this type of story a memoir, but the shorter version is often referred to now as a personal narrative essay, something with a beginning, middle and end.

For our group’s training purposes, I selected three different examples that I thought would generate challenging feedback. You can read them  (More…)

Teaching and Learning in Retirement

Don Menzel

[See the special message at the end of this article]

I retired at age 64+, moved to Tampa, bought a new fishing/leisure boat, went to fishing school three times (was a slow learner), and worked on publishing articles and books in my field, primarily ethics in government. Meanwhile, Kay began teaching in the USF OLLI program for seniors. Two years later she convinced the program coordinator to invite me to deliver a few lectures to seniors. That kicked off ten years and 27 classes of learning with seniors. Wow! What an experience.

Seniors who want to learn about new subjects or engage in stimulating exchanges are a delight, with one exception:   (More…)

ReBirth – An Excerpt

Raymond Paltoo

The box rested on the sand in front of the little cabin.

As the world became dark, he knew the time had come. Their defenses were down, lulled by the opiate of restful sleep. He entered their minds one by one, giving each of them the dreams of their deep desires, awakening in them the basic primitive desire for reproduction and propagation of their species. It did not matter to him that they had mutated and certain functions had been lost. He tweaked their bodies, opening one tube here, closing another that was not needed, making them whole again and reassuring their sleeping bodies that everything would be all right again. He entered their bodies, giving them the ecstasy and pleasure they had not known for ages.

He re-entered his chamber that was now his coffin and lay down. His physical body deteriorated into a fine dust. The Essence of his being escaped into the void of space, joining the vast expanse of the Cosmos. He left behind all the knowledge he had accumulated in his millennia of Being; seven, small, shining discs for his children to learn. They had to learn, or the race would die, and his death would have been in vain.  (More…)

High School: the Misery Years

Robert Strozier

The first girl I fell in love with was a horse.

Charlene Atkins, circa third grade, was a worshipper of anything equine, and, meeting me in the hallway, she’d rear and haughtily paw the air, whinny and snort, then gallop off—taking my heart with her.

Charlene and I attended a small, protective private school on the South Side of Chicago, and our class stayed together from kindergarten to graduation from high school (in 1957).  Although my crush on her never faded, I did explore other options over the years. In seventh grade, for instance, my best friend Keith Hudson and I worked up the nerve to ask the Korman twins, Harriet and Louise, to a movie at the Picadilly Theater. I don’t remember who made the call—perhaps we asked them out in unison. Because it wasn’t clear what pairings-off we had in mind, the twins ended up seated to Keith’s right, I to his left. I bought two bags of popcorn, and they shared one, he and I the other, and the only hand I touched that afternoon was his.

Finally I reached high school—The Big Time. Renewing my pursuit of Charlene, I managed to  (More…)