New Orleans

Shirley Herring

New Orleans is a city dear to my heart, a party where everyone is invited. The people are warm, the food is world class, and the music will soothe your soul. I am privileged to visit regularly, because my husband’s family lives there. They live in the suburbs now, but it’s never hard to persuade them to go into the city.

Food is always a good place to start. Our favorite haunt is Mandina’s in an old pink house on Canal Street.  (More…)

The Computer Revolution and AI

Bruce Gobioff

The late Arthur C. Clarke, noted science fiction author, said: “We have to abandon the idea that schooling is something restricted to youth. How can it be, in a world where half the things a man knows at 20 are no longer true at 40 – and half the things he knows at 40 hadn’t been discovered when he was 20?”

The latter portion of this quote is very appropriate for the computer industry. For example, let’s look back just ten years. What can you do today with a computer that you couldn’t do ten years ago?  (More…)

Riverfront Park

(Regular readers of OLLI Connects will be familiar with our usual format.  Since we don’t want you to get bored, we’re bending our usual formatting rules for this article.  Read on. –Editor) 

Shelly Belzer

Inside Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s head is a master plan for renewing downtown Tampa from the Hillsborough River out. First came Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, then the Riverwalk.  The third jewel in this triple crown is the $35 million restoration of Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park, 25 acres on the west bank of the river, with a boathouse, community center and green-monster sculpture.   (More…)

 

What Are Word Clouds? And How Can I Use Them?

Diane White

You’ve probably seen them.  Puffy groups of words that illustrate articles, especially those that you read on the internet. Yes, they have a name – Word Clouds.

Why are they seemingly so prolific? Word clouds are great visual tools because they help to communicate ideas in a very direct way by putting the focus on the most important words in a story. As an added bonus, there are free programs that easily let you create amazing word clouds in minutes!  (More…)

Civil War Battlefields

Kevin Chittim

Unbearable Florida heat and humidity, wives off on their own adventures, more than a slight danger of boredom—how are a couple of golden agers to spend their summer vacation?

Tim McMurrich and I have been friends for 45 years (although we lost contact with each other for 30 of those) ever since we were part of a stellar softball outfield in the ‘70s.  We hatched our plan to tour Civil War Battlefields over cocktails during the Christmas holidays (not surprisingly our spouses began planning alternate summer plans the same evening).  So, began an 8-day Odyssey    (More…)

Life As It Was

Raymond Paltoo

“Why bother with the past? It is not where you come from but where you end up.” This was a question posed by my younger son who was and is as American as Mom’s apple pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. I smile at him as we sit around a kidney-shaped swimming pool with sparkling blue water; the bright Florida sun glinting off the calm surface of the water with occasional swirls from the underwater jets and filtration system.

My answer was unthinkingly swift and spontaneous, as I had heard this type of question before, posed by students who were impatient to get on with life.  (More…)

My Ancestor Was a Civil War POW

Diane Russell

In the late 1970s, I started researching my family tree. My paternal grandmother’s grandfathers were Union soldiers in the Civil War, so I obtained their military records through the National Archives.

Charles G. Dixon married his sweetheart two days before he enlisted in October, 1864, in Company E, 8th Regiment, Illinois Cavalry. Private Dixon served only 9 months before his discharge in July 1865. A year later, he and Emma Gleason became parents of my great-grandfather, William H. Dixon.

Sanford C. H. Smith was a married father of four children when he enlisted in September, 1862, in Company H, 7th Regiment, Ohio Cavalry. Corporal Smith was captured during the Battle of   (More…)

Photo Gallery

The botanist should make interest with the bees if he would know when the flowers open and when they close.–Henry David Thoreau

We’ve added a new permanent page to OLLI Connects: a gallery of members’ photographs.  Most of our posts are “words in a row” illustrated with a few photographs.  But some OLLI members, especially the OLLI Shutterbugs, see the world the other way around:  vivid and powerful images, perhaps given context with a few words. We have a few of those images in our Gallery now, and we hope to add many, many more.    (More…)

Impressions of Mexico

Brenda Tipps

We descend through the last layer of cloud, and Mexico City is spread out below us, a red, white and gray metropolis covering the entire Valley of Mexico, and it’s climbing relentlessly up the sides of the valley.  21 million people – – isn’t it one of the planet’s biggest cities? – – live here.

Mexico City is, of course, a Spanish colonial city, built by Cortes after he had destroyed the original city of the Aztecs. The modern city has a European flavor: the tree-lined Paseo de la Reforma is modeled after the Champs Elysees; sleek cars stream down the boulevards and sleek people lounge and stroll.  (More…)