Phone:(703) 503-3384


Winter 2018 Catalog
January 22 – February 16, 2018

Below is a list of the courses, special events and ongoing winter 2018 activities at all three locations (Fairfax, Reston and Loudoun). Unless otherwise noted, classes beginning with an F are held at Tallwood in Fairfax, an R at United Christian Parish in Reston, and an L at Mason’s Loudoun County location in Sterling. To view non-course information in the catalog, click the following links for the Schedule of classes (pdf) and Registration Form (pdf). If there is an instructor for a course that interests you, please check our page of instructor profiles.

If you plan to print the catalog rather than read it on your computer screen, you may prefer to print the Winter 2018 (pdf) in its normal two-column format.

Class hours are 9:40–11:05, 11:50–1:15, and 2:15–3:40, unless otherwise noted.

100 Art and Music

F101 Dance Choreography Sampler
F102 Understanding Opera, Part 2
F103 Introduction to Drawing
F104 Vince Giordano: There’s a Future in the Past 
F105 Drawing and Sketching Workshop
F106 Dabbling Artists
F107 Understanding Barbershop Harmony: A Truly American Genre
F108 Watercolor Painting
L109 Understanding Opera, Part 2
L110 Introduction to Drawing and Watercolor

200 Economics & Finance

F201 Tax Preparation Simplified
F202 Retired with Questions
F203 The Tom Crooker Investment Forum
L204 Tax Preparation Simplified

300 History & International Studies

F301 History of the F-35 Aircraft Program
F302 South Africa’s Transition from Apartheid to Democracy: Miracle or Nightmare?
F303 Insights Into Fascinating and Lesser-Known Aspects of Naval Hisstory
F304 Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte and Desiree Clary: King and Queen of Sweden
F305 Park Ranger Potpourri
L306 Intelligence in the Civil War, Part 1
L307 The Water World of Ancient Egypt
L308 Henry Kissinger and the American Approach to Foreign Policy

400 Literature, Theater & Writing

F401 Richard Wagner’s Medievalism: the Stories Behind the Music
F402 OLLI Players Workshop
F403 Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
F404 Poetry Workshop
F405 Sylvia Plath: Artist, Poet, Novelist
F406 Women Writers in Early America

F407 Literary Potpourri
F408 Laughs from the Past: Funny Films from Four Decades
R409 What is a Poem?
R410 Movies of Robin Williams
R411 Literary Roundtable
L412 Writers’ Workshop

500 Languages

F501 Cinema for Spanish Conversation
F502 Spanish Conversation Forum
F503 Latin III
R504 Chartres: Une Ville Francaise

600 Religious Studies

F601 The Jesus of History
F602 Revisiting The Shack: Insights for our Personal Journey
F603 Reading the Same Bible and Finding Different Meanings
F604 Our Role in Redemption: Hanukkah vs. Purim
R605 Is That Really in the Bible?
L606 Introduction to Islam

650 Humanities and Social Sciences

F651 Thinking About the Future
L652 TED Talk Discussion Group


700 Current Events

F701 What’s in the Daily News?
F702 Politics in the 2018 Midterm Elections
R703 The Supreme Court: Current Cases
R704 All the News That’s Fit to Print
L705 What’s in the News, Loudoun Section


800 Science, Technology & Health

F801 History of the Universe (Classical)
F802 Psychology Potpourri
R803 Things That Keep Me Up at Night: Technology’s Severest Challenges
R804 Viniyoga (Foremerly Gentle Yoga)
L805 21st Century Medical Genetics
L806 Global Health: The Evolution of Today’s International Health Architecture and Future Impacts on Responding to Emerging Infectious Disease

900 Other Topics

R901 Finding Our Way: A Workshop on Self Re-discovery
R902 Trip Tales

Additional Special Events

Reston Community Center 2017-18 Professional Touring  Artists Series

R951 RCC Professional Touring Artist Series: What’s Going On: The Marvin Gaye Project in Partnership with Dance Place
1003BT  RCC Professional Touring Artist Series: Rahim AlHaj present Letters from Iraq
L952 A Fresh Look at Jane Austen

R953 Eating Right for Cancer Prevention
L954 Hillbilly Elegy: Discussion Group
F955 Book Talk: Tommy Lasorda: My Way
L956 How to Take Control of Your Health and Wellness Through Mindfulness Practice
F957 The Blues: Where It Came from and How We Got Here
R958 The Legend Lives On: “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”
F959 Alexander Gardner: An Examination of his Photographic Legacy
R960 Quick Write
L961 Artificial Intelligence: Great Applications for Daily Living
R962 Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry
F963 Bseball Promotions Gone Bad
L964 Movie: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
F965 The Psychology of Art, Fiction, and Imagination
L966 Commedia Workshop
L967 Touch Up Your Memoir
L968 How to Succeed as National Security Advisor Without Really Trying
F969 What You Should Know About Popeye’s Best Girl, Olive Oil
F970 For Brotherhood and Duty: The Civil War History of the West Point Class of 1862
R971 The Art of Cabaret
L972 Future History
F973 Book Talk: The Last Lynching in Northern Virginia
R974 Jewish Women Authors
L975 The Empire State Building Dirigible Mooring Mast
R976 Women Can Write Poetry, Too
F977 Ten Commandments</a.
L978 The Missing Einstein Manuscript: My Family’s History with Albert Einstein and Scientific Publishing
F979 Murder Most British
F980 US Relations with Myanmar (Formerly Burma)</a.
R981 Murder Most British
F982 Principles and Practices of Cybersecurity
R983 Book Talk: The French Revolution and Napoleon in Global Perspective
L984 The Consummate Citizen-Soldier: Charles Russell Lowell, Jr.</em<
F985 HomeFit
L986 Dealing with Difficult People
F987 Book Talk: The French Revolution and Napoleon in Global Perspective
R988 Valentine’s Day Movie: When Harry Met Sally
F989 Name That Bird!
F990 Iditarod: The Last Great Race!
R991 Camp Douglas: The Union’s Andersonville?
L992 Making the Move: 55 + Communities, A Panel Discussion
1001BT I Love Lucy & Desi: A Home Movie
1002BT Moliere’s Imaginary Invalid: Coming Down with Something Hilarious
1101 Coffee and Conversation in Loudoun
1102 Grab ‘n’ Go Coffee Klatch
1103 Ice Cream Social and Mardi Gras Festival


Ongoing Activities

Annex Art Club
Bridge Club
Chess Club
Classic Literature Club
Cooking Club
Craft and Conversation Group
Dirty Knee Club
Doctor Who Club
Ethnic Eats Lunch Club
History Club
Homer, etc.
Mah Jongg Club
Memoir-and More-Writing Group
Personal Computer User Group
Photography Club
Recorder Consort
Reston Book Club
Spanish Club (new)

Tai Chi Club
Tallwood Book Club
The Tom Crooker Investment Forum
Theater Lover’s Group
Walking Group
What’s in the Daily News? Continued

100 Art and Music

F101 Dance Choreography Sampler

Mondays, 11:50–1:15, Jan. 22–Feb. 12
Tallwood: Jan. 22, Jan. 29, Feb. 12
Mason Performing Arts Building: Feb. 5
Coordinator: Linda G. Miller
This course will highlight the choreography of four contemporary dance artists involved in the Mason School of Dance’s Gala Concert, March 23–25. You’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at how dances are created, from inspiration through casting, rehearsal, and finally performance. Each week, knowledgeable and enthusiastic professors from the School of Dance will generously share their knowledge in presentations that are varied, lively, informative, and entertaining. Attend a rehearsal, get to know the dancers, and gain an understanding of how choreography is a reflection of our contemporary world. The Mason Performing Arts Building is located at 4400 University Drive, Fairfax.
Linda Garner Miller is a professor in the School of Dance and a distinguished service professor at Mason. She earned her an MFA in dance and theater from the University of Hawaii. Miller has performed with the Cincinnati Ballet and Cincinnati Opera, Ruth Page’s International Ballet, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and West Hawaii Dance Theatre & Academy, as well as numerous companies and choreographers in the Washington, DC area. She has also choreographed works for university productions, theater, and opera, including Interact Theater’s Pirates of Penzance, which won a Helen Hayes award.


F102  Understanding Opera, Part 2

Mondays, 2:15–3:40, Jan. 22–Feb. 12
Instructor: Glenn Winters
This course completes a survey of Virginia Opera’s 2017–2018 season. Works studied will include Benjamin Britten’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Donizetti’s Italian masterpiece Lucia di Lammermoor. Dr. Winters’ lively discussions feature video and audio excerpts, and this course is recommended for opera beginners and aficionados alike. Part 1 is not a prerequisite.
Glenn Winters is in his fourteenth season as Community Outreach Musical Director for Virginia Opera. As an operatic baritone, Dr. Winters has appeared as guest artist with the Operafestival di Roma, Virginia Opera, and other venues. He is the composer of ten operas for children and adults. This season, Virginia Opera will tour his newest opera Trish and the Fish, as well as reviving his successful show Deep River: Marian Anderson’s Journey. His operas have also been staged by the Cimarron Opera Company and Piedmont Opera. Winters is the author of The Opera Zoo: Singers, Composers and Other Primates, published in 2012 by Kendall Hunt Publishing.


F103  Introduction to Drawing

Mondays, 2:15–3:40, Jan. 22–Feb. 12
Instructors: Suzanne Goldstein, Susann Hamilton
Class limit: 12
Whether you took art way back in school or never attempted it before, this course will have you sketching before you know it! The fundamentals of pencils and paper, line drawing, shading, texture, and perspective will be covered. Homework will be assigned. A list of supplies needed for class will be sent by email to participants prior to the first session.
Suzanne Goldstein is a retired math teacher and a longtime attendee of OLLI sketching and watercolor classes, as well as facilitator of the Annex Art Club.
Susann Hamilton is a retired association executive who has been an OLLI instructor of “Beginning Sketching.”


F104  Vince Giordano: There’s a Future in the Past

Tuesdays, 11:50–1:15, Jan. 23–Jan. 30
Two sessions
Instructor: Marianne Metz
Bandleader and historian Vince Giordano has dedicated his life to preserving early jazz and swing music. Using his ever-growing collection of 60,000 authentic band arrangements from the 1920s and ’30s, Giordano and his Nighthawks breathe new life into this joyous music today. In our first class we’ll see an award-winning new documentary called Vince Giordano: There’s a Future in the Past, which follows Vince and The Nighthawks on their difficult, often unglamorous, journey. The documentary is salted with humor and peppered with lively performances. In our second class the music continues as we revel in recordings by these virtuosic musicians—the best around! Your toes will tap and your spirits will soar; treat yourself!
OLLI member Marianne Metz absolutely loves this rousing music. She routinely shares it on her weekly radio show.


F105  Drawing and Sketching Workshop

Tuesdays, 2:15–3:40, Jan. 23–Feb. 13
Fairfax Lord of Life, Conference Room
Instructor: Bill Parsons
Class limit: 14
In this four-week winter session we will explore a specific topic in drawing, as we did last winter when we focused on portraits. This workshop is intended for students who are experienced in drawing or painting. We’ll encourage free expression through the application of a variety of materials that best suit the subject matter and personal interest of each artist. Weekly discussions about finished work will help students further develop their talents. Basic drawing supplies needed are pencils, charcoal, conté, ink, pastels, and paper appropriate to the medium.
Bill Parsons earned an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1978 and has worked as a furniture maker and designer, jeweler, silversmith, and ceramic artist.


F106  Dabbling Artists

Wednesdays, 2:15–3:40, Jan. 24–Feb. 14
Fairfax Lord of Life, Conference Room
Class limit: 12
Instructors: Suzanne Goldstein, Susann Hamilton
Come meet and join OLLI members who dabble in sketching and watercolor painting. You provide your own materials and the picture or sketch you plan to work on each week. There will be plenty of guidance and encouragement available, along with suggestions for projects you might enjoy. This class is not intended for those who have no experience with drawing or painting. If you have taken “Introduction to Sketching and Watercolor,” this may be for you. Or, if you last picked up a pastel or brush in high school, maybe you’re ready to do it again!
See F103 for instructor information.


F107  Understanding Barbershop Harmony: A Truly American Genre

Thursdays, 9:40–11:05, Jan. 25–Feb. 15
Instructor: Cliff Shoemaker
If you’ve ever heard a barbershop quartet and wondered how this amazing form of music originated—and what makes it so magical—then you’ll enjoy this lively four-week course taught by a lifelong barbershop aficionado. The course will include:

  • 25: A discussion of the history of barbershop music, highlighted by video demonstrations.
  • 1: A viewing of Dave Stevens’ video presentation, What Are We Trying to Preserve? which describes the essence of barbershop music.
  • 8: An examination of modern barbershop groups, featuring highlights from contest performances by the best quartets and choruses today—plus, a look at humor in barbershop singing.
  • 15: A demonstration and sing-along with a real live barbershop quartet.

Cliff Shoemaker grew up singing “Sweet Adeline” with his three older sisters, and then sang in a barbershop quartet through all four years of high school. After many years of singing in other choruses and church choirs, he returned to barbershop in 2009 when he joined the Fairfax Jubil-Aires. Shoemaker has sung in six registered quartets, three of which have competed and won awards.


F108  Watercolor Painting

Thursdays, 2:15–3:40, Jan. 25–Feb. 15
Instructor: Leonard Justinian
Class limit: 15

This class will provide an opportunity for watercolor painters at all levels to develop fresh skills while learning new watercolor techniques. Required materials include: #1, #6, and/or #8 round watercolor brushes; a paint palette for mixing colors; 140 lb. cold press watercolor paper (Arches is best, but you can use less expensive paper); a kneaded eraser; a Staedtler white plastic eraser; and tubes of watercolor paint in white, charcoal black, cadmium yellow (medium), cadmium red (medium), and ultramarine blue, or a starter set of watercolors.
Leonard Justinian has been painting for more than 60 years. Among other honors, he has received the Grumbacher Award. He teaches watercolor painting in his Fairfax City studio and is also seen on Fairfax public access cable TV, Cox cable channel 10, and Verizon FiOS channel 10. He is a member of the Washington Society of Landscape Painters,


L109  Understanding Opera, Part 2

Mondays, 2:15–3:40, Jan. 22–Feb. 12
Instructor: Glenn Winters
This is a videoconference of F102.


L110  Introduction to Drawing and Watercolor

Thursdays, 11:50–1:15, Jan. 25–Feb. 15
Instructor: Cathy Faraj
This class is for beginners who want to learn some basic skills in sketching, drawing, and watercolor. We will discuss and practice drawing and painting techniques, as well as some tricks of the trade emphasizing proportion and perspective. We will also discuss and compare various kinds of paints, brushes, and paper for watercolor painting. This class should be fun and relaxing for everyone. Some projects may have to be completed at home. A supply list will be emailed to each class participant. If you are beyond the beginner stage, please sign up for F105 Drawing and Sketching Workshop and/or F108 Watercolor Painting.
Cathy Faraj is a retired Fairfax County Public Schools teacher who has taken many OLLI art classes and continues to do so. She wants to pass on her enjoyment to as many people as possible in each class.


F201  Tax Preparation Simplified

Tuesdays, 9:40–11:05, Jan. 23–Feb. 6
Three sessions
Coordinator: Leo Brennan
This series of lectures is intended to help you with the preparation of your income tax returns.

  • 23: A Review of Federal Tax Laws, with an Emphasis on Senior-Related Issues. Presenter John Higgins is a tax training specialist for AARP Tax-Aide in Virginia.
  • 30: A Review of Virginia Tax Laws for Seniors to Consider. John Higgins will build on the previous lecture, describing the requirements of Virginia tax laws for preparing federal and state tax returns, and using the content and organization of your documentation “shoebox” to help prepare your tax returns
  • 6: Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Your Taxes but Were Afraid to Ask. Linda de Marlor, who teaches tax law at real estate and educational institutions, will give a brief presentation about issues that affect most seniors. Then she’ll open the session to questions on real estate, legal, and financial issues. She has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, and is returning to OLLI for her tenth season.


F202  Retired with Questions

Wednesdays, 9:40–11:05, Jan. 24–Feb. 14
Coordinator: Leo Brennan
Class limit: 30

As seniors look through the kaleidoscope of life, we find our world constantly changing, and we want to know what others are doing in similar situations. This open forum, an outgrowth of the Tom Crooker Investment Forum and other OLLI classes, is designed to address the concerns of seniors regarding a wide range of retirement issues. A panel of experienced investors will provide answers to members’ questions through friendly discussion. Presenters include:
Al Smuzynski, Investment Forum moderator; Lou Coglianese, Investment Forum member; Mike May, financial planner for seniors; and Helen Flynn, senior relocation strategist. Topics may include annuities, fixed income, asset allocations, management of IRAs, staying in your home, downsizing, how to make your money last, and moving to a new location.

  • 24: Class members will identify their areas of concern.
  • 31–Feb. 14: Panel members will address member concerns, as identified in the first session.


F203  The Tom Crooker Investment Forum

Wednesdays, 11:50–1:15, Jan. 24–Feb. 14
Fairfax Lord of Life
Moderator: Al Smuzynski
The Investment Forum, which meets weekly throughout the year, addresses investment topics of particular interest to retirees. A weekly agenda is distributed, and each session begins with an open discussion of recent events in the economy and in financial markets, and their impact on investment decisions. Member presentations typically include such topics as: recent market indicators, stocks, bonds, funds (mutual, exchange-traded, and closed-end), real estate investment trusts (REITs), options, commodities, master limited partnerships, sectors, allocations, and investment strategies. We use analyses and data from the financial press.
Al Smuzynski is a retired bank regulator and an advocate of affordable housing. He currently serves on the boards of Virginia Community Capital and Community Capital Bank of Virginia.


L204  Tax Preparation Simplified

Wednesdays, 11:50–1:15, Jan. 24–Feb. 7
Three sessions
Coordinator: Leo Brennan
This class is a repeat of F201.


F301  History of the F-35 Aircraft Program

Tuesdays, 9:40–11:05, Jan. 23–Feb. 6
Three sessions
Instructor: Bob Heyer
This course will review the history of the F-35 Lightning II aircraft program from its conception to replace the tactical aircraft in the US Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps. The program began in 1994 when the Joint Advanced Strike Technology program investigated, and invested in, several approaches to critical system technologies and aircraft designs. In 1997, the program transitioned to the Joint Strike Fighter Concept Demonstration program, and the Lockheed Martin X-35 concept was selected for the next phase. In 2001, the System Design and Demonstration phase began, and eight partner nations contributed funding, insight, and some influence into the design. Limited initial production was begun with Air Force F-35A, followed by others in the series. The course will discuss the many decisions that led to producing more than 3,000 F-35 aircraft for the United States and foreign military sales.
Bob Heyer spent 20 years as a US naval aviator, flying A-4 and A-7 attack aircraft from aircraft carriers in the Mediterranean and Western Pacific during the Vietnam war. He holds an MS in aeronautical engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School and is a graduate of Defense Acquisition University. Heyer spent 35 years managing upgrades and integration of avionics systems into naval tactical aircraft and was involved in the design and manufacturing of the F-35 family of aircraft.


F302  South Africa’s Transition from Apartheid to Democracy: Miracle or Nightmare?

Tuesdays, 11:50–1:15, Jan. 23–Feb. 13
Fairfax Lord of Life
Coordinator: Kathleen Burns
Join us for a spirited discussion of South Africa’s upheaval in politics, culture, racial change, and economic shifts, and the impact it had on the region and throughout the world. Apartheid, as a government-imposed racial policy, defined South Africa from 1948 to 1991. Under its dictates, interracial marriage and dating were banned. It controlled where people lived, the work they did, the schools they attended, and the training they received. Conflicts from apartheid led to many violent confrontations, incarcerations, and deaths. In 1986, the United States and Great Britain imposed significant economic sanctions, and after three years, F. W. de Klerk, the white South African president, dismantled a majority of the apartheid laws. After spending 27 years in prison to protest apartheid, Nelson Mandela was released in 1990. The following year, South Africa abolished all remaining apartheid laws and created a multiracial government. Mandela won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and was elected the country’s first black president in 1994, serving until 1999.
John Campbell was a political counselor in Nigeria and South Africa, dean of the language school of the Foreign Service Institute, and ambassador to Nigeria. He is the author of Morning in South Africa, published in 2016.
Bill Lucas is a US Department of State veteran of 33 years, including two tours of the US Embassy in South Africa. He was director of African Affairs at the National Security Council, and South Africa desk officer for the Department of State.
Enos Banda, a native of South Africa, is an entrepreneur, international lawyer, and executive with global banking experience. He speaks three African languages and is a law graduate of Case Western Reserve University and Georgetown University.
(Our fourth speaker was not confirmed at press time.)
Kathleen Burns, a long-time OLLI instructor, was the 2016–17 president of the DC chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. She was a foreign correspondent in Australia and has taught in seven universities, both in the United States and overseas.


F303  Insights Into Fascinating and Lesser-Known Aspects of Naval History

Wednesdays, 11:50–1:15, Jan. 24–Feb. 7
Three sessions
Instructor: Alan McKie

  • 24: America’s 21st Century Navy. It’s a ship; it’s Star Wars; no, it’s DDG-1000! The US Navy has taken a giant leap into the future by launching a radically new warship, the USS Zumwalt. It appears more like a spaceship out of Star Wars than the Navy’s newest and most radically innovative destroyer. Though it’s more powerful than battleships of past eras, it requires a crew of fewer than 150. Learn about the extraordinary capabilities of this incredible new warship. Be amazed!
  • 31: United States Presidential Yachts. For 90 years (1880 to 1970), presidents used seven vessels to escape the White House, travel the east coast, relax, fish, celebrate with family and friends, cajole Congressmen, negotiate treaties, entertain dignitaries and foreign notables, and even to convey bad news. The USS Sequoia was the most famous yacht, and witness to the most history.
  • 7: Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson—Naval Hero Extraordinaire. A brave and inspirational naval leader and superb strategist, Horatio Nelson thwarted Napoleon Bonaparte’s burning ambition to conquer the British Empire. In 1805, Nelson defeated the combined French/Spanish fleets off Cape Trafalgar in just four hours—dashing forever Napoleon’s plans to invade England. Nelson gave his life to ensure that Great Britain would rule the oceans of the world for more than a century.

Alan McKie retired from federal service as a senior executive in 1994, after which he served for 20 years as a research and tour docent at the National Museum of the US Navy. More recently, he has produced and presented a variety of presentations on naval history.


F304  Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte and Desiree Clary: King and Queen of Sweden

Thursdays, 9:40–11:05, Jan. 25–Feb. 8
Three sessions
Instructor: Elisabeth Wolpert
This course will cover the French origins of the two monarchs, their respective lives during the Reign of Terror that followed the French Revolution, the rivalry between Napoleon Bonaparte and Bernadotte, the unexpected election of Bernadotte as heir to the Swedish throne, and the initiation of his famous social policy. We’ll address the stubbornness of Clary to return to France and spy for her husband, and her final return to Stockholm to be crowned and accept her destiny as queen. In spite of their affairs and eccentricities, both remained attached to each other and founded a dynasty which still exists 199 years later––proving that France is still the big sister of Sweden as the two countries share the common values of liberty, equality, and fraternity.
Elisabeth Wolpert was born and educated in France. Her doctoral thesis dealt with 16th-century French literature. She enjoys being at OLLI, where she has taught several courses.


F305  Park Ranger Potpourri

Thursdays, 2:15–3:40, Jan. 25–Feb. 15
Fairfax Lord of Life
Coordinator: Brad Berger
OLLI members have expressed continued interest in the mystery potpourri series, so the National Park Service presenters will reveal three new surprise topics (one of which will be delivered in two parts). We will explore a variety of local connections to people, places, or events which shaped our nation’s history.
National Park Service rangers have participated with OLLI in scores of thematic courses, special events, and trips since 2001.


L306  Intelligence in the Civil War, Part 1

Tuesdays, 9:40–11:05, Jan. 23–Feb. 13
Instructor: Jim Anderson
In Part 1 of this two-part lecture series, we will explore the efforts—both successful and unsuccessful—of the two warring governments to establish effective intelligence organizations in the early days of the Civil War. The Confederacy’s “Secret Service Bureau” and the Union’s “Bureau of Military Information” used age-old intelligence tradecraft techniques, such as code-breaking, deception, and covert surveillance. The two sides also experimented with technologies like the telegraph and reconnaissance balloons. We will examine the various means used to gather and exploit both tactical and strategic information to influence events on the battlefield and in Washington and Richmond. Other topics will include mapmaking, cavalry and irregular units, and the contributions of escaped slaves, or “contrabands.” This lecture series focuses less on the battlefield, and more on the battle of wits.
Jim Anderson spent 27 years with the CIA, including tours in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Far East. He holds degrees in history from Rhodes College and the University of Memphis. For the past nine years he has conducted corporate leadership training seminars featuring Civil War battlefield visits.


L307  The Water World of Ancient Egypt

Tuesdays, 11:50–1:15, Feb. 6–Feb. 13
Two sessions
Instructor: John Gaudet
Ten thousand years ago, the Sahara and Egypt were extraordinarily verdant, lush places with water in excess. Large lakes, interlinked with waterways and thousands of rivers, produced aquatic conditions until 5000–3000 BC. Then the climate changed as the earth tilted, rains stopped, deserts formed, and man moved on as the Sahara dried out. In ancient days the swamps along the Nile River and in the delta were important wet refuges that served man and made up a “water world” in Egypt. The early inhabitants of this region developed rich agricultural land along the river floodplain in tune with the cycle of annual inundations. This course will discuss and illustrate this water world and how it acted as a great natural buffer, a sustainable reserve that was later cleared and developed to make way for the irrigated world of Pharonic times, a period that began with the arrival of water-lifting techniques.
John Gaudet is a writer, lecturer, and ecologist whose writing has appeared in The Washington Post, Salon, and Huffington Post. He authored The Iron Snake, a historical novel about a railroad that affected millions in Africa. His most recent book, Papyrus: The Plant that Changed the World, is available on


L308  Henry Kissinger and the American Approach to Foreign Policy

Wednesdays, 11:50–1:15, Jan. 24–Feb. 14
Instructor: Greg Cleva
More than 40 years have passed since Henry Kissinger served as America’s secretary of state, yet he continues to enjoy prominence in our public life and throughout the global community. His views are sought by congressional committees and foreign policy groups, and his articles on international issues appear in distinguished journals and newspapers. The major focus of this class is the historical philosophy that Kissinger developed as a Harvard undergraduate in the late 1940s. He drew upon such thinkers as Immanuel Kant, Oswald Spengler, Arnold Toynbee, and the German historicists. It was this historical philosophy that he later applied to studying and understanding world politics, particularly the period culminating in the Congress of Vienna (1814–1815) and the actions of such statesmen as Metternich, Talleyrand, and Castlereagh. This was the philosophy that informed Kissinger’s criticism of the American approach to foreign policy in the 1950s and 1960s, prior to his assuming the office of national security advisor in the first Nixon presidency, and that supported his diplomatic work in that position.
Greg Cleva has a PhD in international politics from the Catholic University of America and is a retired foreign affairs analyst with the Department of Defense.


F401  Richard Wagner’s Medievalism: the Stories Behind the Music

Mondays, 9:40–11:05, Jan. 22–Feb. 12
Instructor: Amelia Rutledge
Richard Wagner’s opera scores are praised for their innovations, but the plots of Der Ring des Nibelungen, Tristan und Isolde, and Parsifal are grounded in medieval tales (Norse, Celtic, French, and German) that are well worth studying. Wagner was quite cavalier in his creative appropriations, imbuing his plots with his social and sexual preoccupations. As both librettist and composer, the artistic effectiveness of any dramatic element was his main concern. What he achieved attests to the inherent power of these medieval tales. Over four sessions, we will survey the complex background stories that were Wagner’s “building blocks:”

  • 22: The Ring (giants, dragons, valkyries): Icelandic tales “The Lay of Fafnir” and “The Lay of Sigrdrifa.”
  • 29: The Ring (families and Ragnarok, the apocalypse): The Nibelungenlied,The Volsunga saga,” and “The Elder Edda.”
  • 5: Tristan and Isolde (doomed lovers): the Irish story of Diarmuid and Grainne, French stories by Beroul and Thomas d’Angleterre, and the German Tristan by Gottfried von Strassburg.
  • 12: Parsifal (from magical vessel to holy object): “The Story of the Grail” by Chrétien de Troyes, “The Quest of the Holy Grail” (anonymous), and Wolfram von Eschenbach’s “Parzival.”

Amelia A. Rutledge is an associate professor of English at George Mason University who holds a PhD in medieval studies from Yale University. She teaches courses in medieval literature (especially Arthurian legend), science fiction, fantasy, and children’s literature, and has published articles on those subjects.


F402 OLLI Players Workshop

Mondays, 9:40–11:05, Jan. 22–Feb. 12
Instructor: Kathie West
This is a continuous acting and producing workshop for serious theater-minded participants, conducted by the OLLI Players, an amateur theater group affiliated with OLLI Mason. In our repertoire we incorporate lyrics, short scenes, monologues, and original plays, and perform them at various local venues such as senior centers. We will also be creating a murder mystery that will be performed three times in June 2018. You must be willing to travel locally during the day, mostly on Fridays. If you have a scene or play you would like to debut, bring it along and we may try it. Come join us and be willing to tout OLLI and your talents!
Kathie West, an OLLI member, is a former theater teacher at Robert E. Lee High School and Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.


F403  Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner

Tuesdays, 11:50–1:15, Jan. 23–Feb. 13
Instructor: Brenda Cheadle
Class limit: 25
Wallace Stegner’s Angle of Repose is a story of America’s western expansion, inspired by the life and letters of Mary Halleck Foote, a writer and illustrator who followed her mining engineer husband west from New York in the 1870s. In the novel, their lives are re-created by their grandson, Lyman Ward, an historian who, a century later, linked their lives to his. In Susan and Oliver Ward’s numerous disappointments and misfortunes, Stegner explores the myth of America’s West as a land of golden opportunity and fearless cowboys. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Angle of Repose is considered one of the most important novels of the twentieth century.
Brenda Cheadle, an OLLI member and retired educator, enjoys discussing authors and literature with other avid readers. She holds master’s degrees in educational supervision and in instruction from the University of Texas. Cheadle taught several courses in gifted and talented education at George Mason University as an associate professor of education, and was administrator of the gifted and talented division of Fairfax County Public Schools. She has also been a teacher of all elementary grades, middle school special education, and high school English.


F404  Poetry Workshop

Tuesdays, 2:15–3:40, Jan. 23–Feb. 13
Moderators: Mike McNamara, Jan Bohall
Class limit: 16

This workshop allows both novice and experienced poets the opportunity to share their work and receive suggestions for improvement. Workshop members should bring an original poem in draft or in revised form to each session. Two poems should be sent to the Tallwood office for duplication one week before the first class meeting and a third poem brought to the first session. The moderators will email students after registration to let them know exactly when and where to send their poems for the first class.
Mike McNamara, an OLLI member, has been published in several literary journals and magazines and has received awards from the Poetry Society of Virginia.
Jan Bohall, also an OLLI member, has had poems published in various periodicals and has won awards from the Poetry Society of Virginia.


F405  Sylvia Plath: Artist, Poet, Novelist

Wednesdays, 9:40–11:05, Jan. 24–Feb. 14
Instructor: Barbara Nelson
Since her death in 1963, Sylvia Plath has been known as the author of the semi-autobiographical novel The Bell Jar, and as a poet who was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize. However, she was imaginative throughout her short life and driven to express her ideas through a variety of forms. She wrote poetry, short stories, novels, and essays, and she worked as an editor. Less well known are her visual and artistic skills: she painted and drew, and was fascinated with photography and presentation of image. This class will investigate her life and creative genius as presented in all these forms: art, photography, and a variety of literary forms—poetry, short stories, essays, and The Bell Jar.
Barbara Nelson, an OLLI member, taught for over 30 years at the secondary level, the last 20 at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. She has taught a number of literature classes at OLLI.


F406  Women Writers in Early America

Wednesdays, 11:50–1:15, Jan. 24–Feb. 14
Instructor: Tamara Harvey
Class limit: 40
Anne Bradstreet and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz were concerned with justifying their poetry through conventional defenses as well as representations of American riches and wonders. Phillis Wheatley’s works reflected upon American freedom and slavery. Judith Sargent Murray, Hannah Webster Foster, and Leonora Sansay investigated American liberties and gender inequality. These and other American women have leveraged longstanding arguments for women’s education and literary endeavors by yoking them to American concerns. In this class we will look at poetry, essays, and novels by early American women, focusing particularly on the ways that defenses of women are joined with representations of America.
Tamara Harvey is an associate professor of English at Mason. Her research focuses on women and early America, especially in a hemispheric context. She is the author of Figuring Modesty in Feminist Discourse across the Americas, 1633–1700, and coeditor of George Washington’s South and Confronting Global Gender Justice: Women’s Lives, Human Rights.


F407  Literary Potpourri

Thursdays, 11:50–1:15, Jan. 25–Feb. 15
Coordinators: Jackie Gropman, Katie Mitchell
Dabble in diversity. Expand your knowledge base. Learn/try something new!

  • 25: Mathew Davis, award-winning writer, recipient of advanced degrees, a Fulbright Fellow to Syria/Jordan, and founder of the new Alan Cheuse International Writers Center at Mason, will speak to us about the Center within the context of cultural diplomacy. He will discuss the Center’s mission and programs, and how creative writing and literature can be a means of international dialogue, exchange, and understanding. Davis will broaden the discussion to talk about the history of cultural diplomacy and its importance in international relations. Who engages in cultural diplomacy? What is its role? When has it succeeded/failed?
  • 1: Jamie Watson, a librarian for over 20 years (most recently as head of the Collection Development Department at Baltimore County Public Library) and a member of the 2017 Newbery Award Selection Committee, will discuss the John Newbery Medal, the premier children’s literature award for the past 95 years. Class members are asked to read When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead, as preparation for the class.
  • 8: Chuck Cascio, award-winning journalist, educator, writer, and English and journalism teacher, will conduct an attendee participation class called Quick Write. Members will be given scenarios as the impetus for a timed creative writing session. The writing will be shared and critiqued, and some of the work will be expanded as class members add to the writings of others.
  • 15: A five-decade resident of Fairfax County, John Gilstrap is the award-winning and best-selling author of 17 thrillers which have been translated into over 20 languages around the world. He has also written four screenplays for Hollywood studios. In this presentation, John will provide insight into his diverse career, his journey to become a writer, and the blessings of his success.


F408  Laughs from the Past: Funny Films from Four Decades

Thursdays, 1:45–3:45, Jan. 25–Feb. 15
Note time
Instructor: Martha Powers
Lighten up! These classic comedies from four past decades will give you good reason to laugh at Ol’ Man Winter this term. Come and enjoy top-rated entertainment, guaranteed to lift your spirits and warm your heart.

  • 25: The More the Merrier (1943). During the World War II housing shortage right here in Washington, two men and a woman (always-funny Jean Arthur) share a single apartment, and the older man (played by dear old Charles Coburn) plays Cupid to the other two.
  • 1: Harvey (1950). Elwood P. Dowd (Jimmy Stewart) has an invisible six-foot-tall rabbit (Harvey) for a best friend, so his family thinks he’s insane—but he may be wiser than anyone realizes. If you haven’t seen this classic lately, come and test your sanity!
  • 8: A Thousand Clowns (1966). This gem has sadly slipped into the dusty archives of the forgotten, so you may never have heard of it. Jason Robards plays a middle-aged iconoclast who is doggedly avoiding the tedium of employment and conventional life in New York City, while grappling with the prospect of losing custody of his precocious young nephew.
  • 15: Paper Moon (1973). During the Great Depression, a Bible-selling con man (Ryan O’Neal) finds himself saddled with a young girl (Tatum O’Neal) who may or may not be his daughter, and the two forge an unlikely partnership.

Martha Powers is an OLLI member whose classes tend toward lighter subjects: sitcoms, comedians, and movies. She has presented dozens of movies at OLLI over the past four years, and is always pleased to discover and share highly rated films that surprise and delight.


R409  What is a Poem?

Mondays, 11:50–1:15, Jan. 22–Feb. 12
Instructor: Richard Wilan
This course will be a discussion of the nature and purpose of poetry from the perspective of a college professor who teaches reading and writing about poems. The instructor will present some of the approaches from his Introduction to Literature textbook, starting with Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” and followed by the critics’ responses. He will talk about some of his favorite poems for teaching such topics as metaphors, symbols, and themes. Discussion will be welcomed both in class and online.
Richard Wilan holds a PhD from the University of Maryland and is professor emeritus at Northern Virginia Community College, where he has taught English for many years. He is the co-author of Prentice-Hall’s Introduction to Literature.


R410  Movies of Robin Williams

Tuesdays, 11:30–1:30, Jan. 23–Feb. 13
Note time
Instructor: Martha Powers
Few actors can match the legacy that Robin Williams left when he died in 2014 at age 63. In addition to a successful career as stand-up comedian and TV star, he was a remarkable movie actor whose unstoppable talent shone through in every role—however serious or hilarious it might be. This course will offer a sampling of four of his films, both serious and comedic: Good Will Hunting, Mrs. Doubtfire, Awakenings, and The Birdcage.
See F408 for instructor information.


R411  Literary Roundtable

Wednesdays, 11:50–1:15, Jan. 24–Feb. 14
Reston’s Used Book Shop at Lake Anne
Moderator: Ben Gold
Class limit: 21

This short-story class will continue discussions of stories in the anthology Adaptations: From Short Story to Big Screen: 35 Great Stories That Have Inspired Great Films. Some of the well-known and much-loved movies that began their lives as short stories include A Christmas Story, My Friend Flicka, Field of Dreams, and Rashomon. Decide for yourself whether the short story was better than the movie, or the other way around. Each week, volunteers from the class will lead discussion of that week’s stories. The book is available online from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
Ben Gold has a BA in political science from Stanford University and also holds an MS degree in computer science. He will serve as moderator.


L412  Writers’ Workshop

Wednesdays, 9:40–11:05, Jan. 24–Feb. 14
Instructor: Ed Sadtler
Class limit: 10

This class uses a roundtable format to foster an environment for writers of all levels to give and receive encouragement, feedback, and constructive criticism. All genres of writing are welcome, including poetry, fiction, memoirs, and historical pieces. To each of these categories we apply the same underlying commitment: to write a compelling work that fully conveys the author’s intentions.
Ed Sadtler is a retired salesman, turned daring, if almost-never-published, poet who nevertheless insists on continuing to read, write, and talk about poetry to anyone foolish enough to listen.


F501  Cinema for Spanish Conversation

Mondays, 9:40–11:05, Jan. 22–Feb. 12
Instructors: Ligia Glass, Tom Black
In this class, students will watch Spanish movies in order to learn more about Hispanic culture, including language, traditions, cuisine, history, and social and family values. They will observe daily-life culture in a wide variety of settings. Subtitles will provide flexibility and facilitate understanding. Summaries of the films, a glossary of terms, cultural notes, and topics for conversation will be provided to students to facilitate Spanish conversation after the film is viewed. Come and join us for popcorn and a viewing of some delightful movies of the Spanish-speaking world. An intermediate level of Spanish is recommended for this course.
Ligia Glass is a native of Panama and retired from the Securities and Exchange Commission. She has over 20 years of experience teaching Latin American literature and all levels of Spanish. She has also taught Spanish with Fairfax County Adult Continuting Education, and has been an OLLI instructor for several years. Glass holds an MA in foreign languages, an MA in Latin American area studies, and has had post-graduate studies in Latin American literature.
Tom Black is a retired federal prosecutor with extensive experience working in Latin America. During his tenure in the US Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs, Black served as the associate director for South America, and later for Mexico, Central America, and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, until he left government service in 2013. Since retiring, Black has continued his interest in Spanish language and cultures by attending classes at OLLI.


F502 Spanish Conversation Forum

Wednesdays, 9:40–11:05, Jan. 24–Feb. 14
Instructors: Bernardo Vargas Giraldo, Elizabeth Trent Hammer
Class limit: 16

The objectives of this class are to practice the Spanish language and learn about Spanish/Latino culture through articles, photographs, videos, and speakers. Classes are conducted entirely in Spanish. English will be used only occasionally to explain grammar and idiomatic expressions. A prerequisite for this class is an ability to converse in Spanish at the high intermediate to advanced level. Students are encouraged to make presentations in Spanish on timely topics of their choosing. Come join us and improve your Spanish.
Bernardo Vargas Giraldo received his PhD in legal science at the Pontificia Universidad Católica Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia. He specialized in public administration and international business at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh. He is currently a writer and analyst of economic and political subjects.
Elizabeth Trent Hammer received her PhD from George Mason University in community college education with a specialty in linguistics and the teaching of writing. She was a professor of English as a second language at NOVA for 20 years, and received professor emerita standing upon retirement. She also worked as a Spanish and French translator for the FBI. Spanish and French languages and cultures are her passions.


F503  Latin III

Thursdays, 9:40–11:05, Jan. 25–Feb. 15
Instructor: Alana Lukes
Class limit: 16
This continuing course is for Latin students with knowledge of the six indicative verb tenses and the five noun declensions. We take a modern reading approach to learning this ancient language. The course explores Latin grammar and vocabulary, and ancient Roman/British culture in first century CE Roman Britain. This session will look closely at the role the town of Bath played, as well as the Roman military presence. Class meetings will use the Cambridge Latin Course, Unit Three, North American Fourth Edition as the required text. (Note: Some copies of this textbook may be available from instructor.)
Alana Lukes, an OLLI member, has taught Latin for over 25 years at the middle school, high school, and college levels.


R504  Chartres: Une Ville Française

Tuesdays, 11:50–1:15, Jan.23–Feb. 13
Instructor: Marge Hogarty
This course will explore the history, geography, and culture of this beautiful old city. It will also cover various aspects of everyday life in the present day. The class will incorporate elements of grammar and pronunciation of written French, so students need to have a basic understanding of French.
Marge Hogarty, a Chicago native, has been teaching, tutoring, and reading French for over 50 years. She has been to France many times, as well as to French-speaking West Africa and Quebec Province. She has an MA in French from Middlebury College and has taught in high schools in Illinois, New York, and Connecticut. She has also worked as a travel agent and a realtor.


F601  The Jesus of History

Mondays, 11:50–1:15, Jan. 22–Feb. 12
Instructor: Jack Dalby
New Testament scholar John Dominic Crossan once said, “It is impossible to avoid the suspicion that historical Jesus research is a very safe place to do theology and call it history, to do autobiography and call it biography.” So just who was the Jesus of history? Was he a Cynic philosopher, a magician, the messiah, revolutionary zealot, apocalyptic prophet, the son of God, or God? In this course we will attempt to reconstruct the Jesus of history by examining what modern historians have to say about this enigmatic first-century Palestinian Jew. Topics for discussion will include: sources for the historical Jesus, the critical methods historians use to evaluate these sources, how human memory affects the stories told about Jesus, whether Jesus intended to start a new religion, and what claims he made about himself. We will also examine what historians have written about the major chapters in the life of Jesus. There will be ample time for questions and discussion. A copy of the New Testament is useful but not mandatory.
Jack Dalby, president of White Oak Communications, is an OLLI member who has taught classes on the historical Jesus, St. Paul, and early Christianity. He holds a BS in communication arts from James Madison University and has taken graduate history classes at George Mason University.


F602  Revisiting The Shack: Insights for our Personal Journey

Tuesdays, 9:40–11:05, Jan. 23–Feb. 13
Instructor: Laurence Packard
The Shack surprised booksellers by becoming a bestseller but was not as popular as a movie. This class will compare and contrast sections of the book with the newly released DVD. The differences and similarities reveal insights into the author’s message—and how Hollywood glossed over some of the most difficult questions in the book. How do these differences in format inform our personal journey? All too frequently, books and movies come and go, and with them go some of the enduring stories and messages. Join this class to explore these insights and claim the ones that enrich your own journey.
The Rev. Dr. Laurence K. “Larry” Packard is a newly retired Episcopal priest who raises questions from many disciplines without insisting on religious answers to them. His lively teaching style comes from being a student who learns and discovers with the class. Packard graduated from Wake Forest University and Virginia Theological Seminary before receiving his doctorate from Princeton.

F603  Reading the Same Bible and Finding Different Meanings

Tuesdays, 11:50–1:15, Jan. 23–Feb. 13
Instructor: Steve Goldman

  • 23: Biblical Prophecy and the Modern State of Israel. In this session, we will examine why some support modern Israel based on Biblical prophecy, while others assert that the Biblical texts proclaim the opposite.
  • 30: Mary, Mother of Jesus. Why do Christians disagree regarding her person and role? Immaculate Conception? Lived a life without sin? Perpetual virginity? Intercessor? Mother of Christ? Mother of God? Our mother? Assumed into heaven?
  • 6: The Resurrection of Jesus: Fact or Fiction? The apostle Paul wrote, “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.”(1 Corinthians 15:14) If Christianity stands or falls on the historicity of the Resurrection, why are there conflicting accounts within the New Testament? Can the divergent accounts be reconciled? What do sources outside the New Testament record about the Resurrection? In this session, we will explore how believers, skeptics, and others approach this central doctrine of Christianity.
  • 13: Slavery, the Bible and Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address. In his second inaugural address, Abraham Lincoln highlighted the irony that both the North and the South used the same Bible to declare their causes to be just. Who had the better case based on Biblical texts? How did Abraham Lincoln interpret the Bible and how did it influence his understanding of slavery and the Civil War? In this session, we will explore the answers to these questions and see how Lincoln crafted an elegant argument regarding the hand of God in human history.

Steven C. Goldman serves as chair of OLLI’s Religious Studies Program Planning Group. He has taught numerous courses on alternative understandings of Biblical doctrine.


F604  Our Role in Redemption: Hanukkah vs. Purim

Wednesdays, 11:50–1:15, Jan. 24–Feb. 14
Instructor: Gilah Goldsmith
What is the human role in redemption? Hanukkah and Purim, both created and shaped by the Rabbis of the Talmud, illustrate the historic theological struggle to understand the balance of human and divine action in restoring an independent Jewish state. What are the roles of prayer, martyrdom, and direct action? What is God’s role in contemporary events? It is a debate which echoes down to today’s Israeli politics.

  • 24: How the Rabbis shaped the holidays and why.
  • 31: Maccabees I and II—apocryphal history.
  • 7: Esther—canonical fiction.
  • 14: Evolution of the holidays—meaning shaped by circumstances.

Gilah Goldsmith is a graduate of Harvard University and The George Washington University Law School. She is a retired government attorney who, for 20 years, has led the weekly Torah study group at Beth El Hebrew Congregation.


R605  Is That Really in the Bible?

Mondays, 9:40–11:05, Jan. 22–Feb. 5
Three sessions
Instructor: Stephen Ruth
Nearly everybody has a favorite event or story from the Bible. Ruth has collected dozens of them for the class, each with a very different spin than may be customary. The course will address love stories in Genesis, and great curses in Deuteronomy. The stories of Deborah and Hannah—two great heroines—will be covered. Several stories about Jesus, from his teachings about the wealthy to his complicated genealogy, will be discussed, as well as Mary Magdalene’s special role in Jesus’s ministry. We’ll also cover Paul’s advice on taxes, slaves, wives, and much more. Each week we will review at least a dozen examples, including many suggested by members of the class. Some may say, “Is that really in the Bible?” It will be interesting and fun to review these stories from a different perspective. No familiarity with Scripture is required. All are welcome.
Stephen Ruth is a professor of public policy at Mason, specializing in technology issues associated with globalization. He is also the director of the International Center for Applied Studies in Information Technology, a grant-supported research center. His book, One Year Trip through the Bible: A Layman’s Fresh View of the Complete Old and New Testaments, examines 73 books of the Hebrew Tanakh (Old Testament) and the Christian New Testament.


L606  Introduction to Islam

Tuesdays, 9:40–11:05, Jan. 23–Feb. 13
Instructor: Mohamed Hassan
Does religion represent a genuine need of humanity? We will discuss the definition of Islam as a harmonious whole that includes a just economic system, a well-balanced social organization, and codes of civil and criminal law. Other topics to be addressed include the role of women in Islam, including their rights and equality, and freedom of thought in Islam.
Mohamed E. Hassan has been the Imam of the Prince William Islamic Center for 15 years. He is a professional engineer and earned his PhD in civil, environmental, and infrastructure engineering from George Mason University. He is also a licensed mediator.

F651  Thinking About the Future

Tuesdays, 9:40–11:05, Jan. 23–Feb. 13
Instructor: Joel Ticknor
Fairfax Lord of Life
Why is it so hard to think about the future? We face many future technological disruptions and global challenges. Can foresight tools and strategies help us avert catastrophic failures? Can we trust robots? How will artificial intelligence dominate our lives? What is the future of gene modification of humans? What is the future of violence? How prepared are we for the next global pandemic, natural or manmade? How do we deal with the catastrophic, if not existential, risks of climate change and nuclear war? What can we do to assure a more flourishing future?
OLLI member Joel Ticknor is a member of the Association of Professional Futurists and the World Future Society and has a certificate in strategic foresight from the University of Houston. A retired CIA officer, Ticknor has taught national security policy at the National War College, as well as courses at OLLI on financial planning and the future of our world. He has a BA from Union College, graduate studies in political science at Columbia University, and a diploma from the National War College.


L652  TED Talk Discussion Group

Wednesdays, 9:40–11:05, Jan. 24–Feb. 14
Instructor: Barbara Wilan
Class limit: 20

TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) is a growing collection of brief recorded talks on a wide range of topics. The speakers are leading figures chosen for their ability to express ideas clearly and succinctly. We will watch and discuss three or four related TED talks each week. The general topics will be: Week 1: Societies, Week 2: Government and Politics, Week 3: Philosophy, and Week 4: The Future.
Barbara Wilan retired as a full-time English teacher at the Annandale campus of Northern Virginia Community College and is currently an adjunct there. She has also taught at the University of Maryland and for the University of Maryland’s European Division.


F701  What’s in the Daily News?

Mondays, 9:30–11:00, Jan. 22–Feb. 12
Note time
Moderators: Dorsey Chescavage, Mel Axilbund, Caroline Cochran
Class limit: 38
Do you have an opinion about what is happening in the world today? Would you like to express and share your views with others? Join other news junkies each week to discuss, debate, and yes, sometimes disagree, as to the significance and meaning of events—both great and small. All views are welcomed in a spirit of give-and-take.
The moderators are OLLI members. Dorsey Chescavage retired from the Jefferson Consulting Group, where she was a registered lobbyist specializing in military and veterans’ health care. Mel Axilbund was engaged in criminal justice reform activities at the Department of Justice and the American Bar Association from 1965 through 1980. He spent the next 15 years in a private general law practice in Northern Virginia, then another 18 years on the trademarks side of the Patent and Trademark Office. Caroline Cochran has taught current events and English classes to foreign students at NOVA.


F702  Politics in the 2018 Midterm Elections

Wednesdays, 9:40–11:05, Jan. 24–Feb. 14
Fairfax Lord of Life
Instructor: Helen Desfosses
While the president does not run in midterm elections, all 435 members of the House of Representatives do, as well as dozens of US Senators. Yet the president’s policies strongly influence the midterm elections, and he cannot escape their impact on the last half of his first term, and whether he will be nominated for, and elected to, a second term. This course will analyze this two-way impact. It will also investigate what has happened historically in midterm elections (the party out of power usually gets stronger), as well as what is likely to happen in 2018. The course will also assess influential issues, ranging from the GOP effort to “repeal and replace” in the health care arena, to immigration, crime, employment, foreign policy, and “making America great again.” Additionally this course will assess political forces that will play a significant role, including citizen action. Populist rivalries between workers and elites and the chaos within both major political parties will also be addressed. Finally, we will explore the likely impact of the 2018 midterm elections on our country’s ongoing political environment.
Helen Desfosses, PhD, has taught many courses at OLLI. She is a retired professor of public administration and policy at the State University of New York at Albany. She served as an elected official and policy analyst in the New York state capital for many years.


R703  The Supreme Court: Current Cases

Wednesdays, 9:40–11:05, Jan. 24–Feb. 14
Rose Gallery at Reston Community Center, Lake Anne
Instructor: Ben Gold
This is a discussion class addressing cases the Supreme Court will hear, or has heard, during its 2017–2018 term. Cases this term will include the president’s executive order banning immigrants from six predominately Muslim countries; whether the sections of the Immigration and Nationality Act that govern aliens’ removal from the United States are unconstitutionally vague; Wisconsin’s redistricting plan and partisan gerrymandering; and whether a Denver baker acted lawfully in refusing to sell a wedding cake to a gay couple. We will use instructor-provided material consisting of the background of the cases, lower-court decisions, and edited briefs filed with the Supreme Court, including audio of oral arguments for selected cases. Materials will only be available online, so internet access is required. Our discussion of each case will look at both sides of every argument, the likely position of each justice, and the social and political context of the case.
Ben Gold, an OLLI member, has a BA in political science from Stanford University and earned an MS in computer science as a naval officer. He has served as a docent at the Supreme Court for the past 14 years.


R704  All the News That’s Fit to Print

Thursdays, 11:50–1:15, Jan. 25–Feb. 15
Moderator: Richard Kennedy
This is your chance to discuss news and current events with other OLLI members who are trying to understand and evaluate our changing world. More than ever, we need to question information that comes to us from TV, radio, the internet, magazines, and newspapers. We will examine and discuss some of the day’s hot topics in world, national, and local news. In order to have time to explore issues and gain various insights, we usually focus on a small number of topics. This is an interactive class, and all viewpoints and opinions are respected, needed, and welcomed. In a democracy agreement is not required, but participation is.
Dick Kennedy, an OLLI member, retired from the senior executive service at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. He enjoys analyzing the news from multiple sources and engaging in lively discussions with colleagues.


L705  What’s in the News, Loudoun Section

Mondays, 9:40–11:05, Jan. 22–Feb. 12
Moderator: Ray Beery
This is a companion course to the current events courses always popular at Tallwood and Reston. The purpose is to bring together thoughtful people for stimulating and civic-minded conversations. Triggered by daily news stories, we discuss a wide range of topics, including culture, design, philosophy and religion, science and technology, psychology, politics, and economics. The format encourages participants to speak up and be heard, to listen and exchange ideas, to explore optional resources and questions prepared by the discussion leaders, to raise questions, and to share experiences and knowledge. We value life experiences, informal education, and diverse points of view.
Ray Beery’s professional career spanned the military, international relations, business management in a large corporation, and teaching at OLLI. He is a member of the OLLI Board of Directors.


F801  History of the Universe (Classical)

Mondays, 11:50–1:15, Jan. 22–Feb. 12
Instructor: Mark Dodge
Class limit: 25
This course is an introduction to the classical view of time and the universe. Why do we have 24 hours in a day and 60 minutes in an hour? Why not some other numbers? Why do we have the calendar we have? What are planets, and why did they cause such confusion to the ancients? How did we go from the perfectly obvious idea that the Sun goes around the Earth to the weird idea that the Earth goes around the Sun? And why is Pluto not a planet anymore? This class is an introduction to the subject of cosmology, the study of the universe. It begins with the Babylonians and extends to the time of Isaac Newton. Almost no math—but lots of ideas! There will be hands-on demonstrations and plenty of conversation as we explore our understanding of the universe.
Mark Dodge earned a BA in physics from the University of California-Berkeley and taught high school physics for 24 years at the H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program in Arlington. He has been fascinated by astronomy since gazing through his first telescope when he was in seventh grade. Dodge is also fascinated by ancient cultures (he can babble on about Babylon) and how these ancient cultures still influence us today. This course is a collection of several of his most popular presentations from his high school teaching days.


F802  Psychology Potpourri

Tuesdays, 2:15–3:40, Jan. 23, Feb. 6–Feb.13
Note dates
Three sessions
Coordinator: Cathey Weir
Speakers for this course are faculty and a graduate student from Mason’s Department of Psychology.

  • 23: Automation in Human-Machine Systems. Dr. Carryl Baldwin, associate chair of Mason’s Department of Psychology, has published widely on driving behavior and human-machine interactions. She will speak about the increasing role of automation in the systems we interact with, including advanced vehicle safety systems and self-driving cars.
  • 6: Chicken Cognition: Something to Crow About. Logan Woodhouse and Dr. Doris Bitler Davis of the Davis Animal Behavior and Cognition Lab at Mason will describe the current state of research on chicken cognition, including an update on new research about the development of object permanence in chickens, turkeys, and ducks. The evolution of different cognitive strategies and the significance of domestication will be discussed.
  • F 13: Doing Tasks with Social Robots. Dr. Eva Wiese, an assistant professor at Mason, does research in the Human Factors and Applied Cognition Group. Her talk will be about how people can foster social connections and empathy when performing human-robot tasks by attributing intention to the robots, and when this might be disadvantageous.


R803  Things That Keep Me Up at Night: Technology’s Severest Challenges

Mondays, 11:50–1:15, Jan. 22–Feb. 5
Three sessions
Instructor: Stephen Ruth
If you are pretty much comfortable with today’s information technology world, this course is probably not for you. The instructor, who teaches technology policy at Mason, has collected several dozen of what he thinks are the scarier, more worrisome, and potentially game-changing topics in information technology that may be in our near-term and long-term future. Many are already major news stories while others are just about to break the surface. Here are some of the topics that will be covered: revenge porn, phishing, cyber bullying, disruption by virtual currencies, bots and scrapers, e-waste, cyber terrorism, fake news, skin gambling, weapons of math destruction, Jigsaw ransomware, doxing, twitterbots, Etherium, and many more. It’s not all bad news because there are solutions for each one of these challenges, and we will discuss how governments, individuals, businesses, and churches might be able to do in order to cope with them.
See R605 for instructor information.


R804  Viniyoga (Formerly Gentle Yoga)</a.

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:00–12:15, Jan. 9–Mar. 1
Sixteen sessions
Note dates and times
Reston Community Center at Lake Anne
Instructor: RCC Staff
Class limit: 5 (55 years and older)
Fee: $72
Viniyoga is a slow-moving practice designed to increase strength, stability, balance, and vitality. Participants will move gently into and out of basic yoga postures while utilizing breathing patterns to calm the nervous system and increase alertness. This practice helps increase flexibility and range of motion through the use of static and dynamic stretching, and by repeating and holding postures. The fee of $72, payable to OLLI, is due at the time of registration. (Refer to page 36 for “add to cart” instructions.) Those registering will also need to complete a Reston Community Center registration waiver form and bring it to class on the first day. The form can be found at–source/forms/registrationformfeb20177fa810d6df97699c883eff0000be6fe9.pdf?sfvrsn=4  Registration for this class is on a first-come, first-served basis.


L805  21st Century Medical Genetics

Mondays, 9:40–11:05, Jan. 22–Feb. 5
Three sessions
Instructor: Jack Miller
The key discoveries of 19th century genetics were that unit factors of inheritance (now called genes) exist, and that chromosomes carry the genetic heritage of animals and plants. In the early 20th century, it was determined that each gene has a specific location on a chromosome, and that x-rays can mutate genes. In the mid-20th century, DNA structure and the mechanism of its function were discovered, and in the late 20th century, human genome sequencing showed that only 2% of the DNA can code for proteins, while a far greater fraction of the DNA carries out other essential functions. In 1983, two groups showed that a gene can be turned off by attaching a methyl group to its DNA—thus launching the epigenetics revolution. The major topics in this course are: 1) how the environment modifies our genes and causes disease; 2) how genes are turned on or off to direct cell differentiation in the embryo and all cellular functions throughout life; 3) new methods in 21st century genetics; 4) animal models of human disease; and 5) ethical issues.
O.J. Miller, emeritus professor of molecular medicine and genetics at Wayne State University and a past president of the American Board of Medical Genetics, has published more than 200 scientific papers, some in Science, Nature, and Cell. He has served on six editorial boards and on research committees of the National Institutes of Health, the American Cancer Society, and the March of Dimes.


L806  Global Health: The Evolution of Today’s International Health Architecture and Future Impacts on Responding to Emerging Infectious Disease

Tuesdays, 11:50–1:15, Feb. 6–Feb. 13
Two sessions
Instructor: Felice Apter
The United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), defined in 2000, ranged from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS, by 2015. This unprecedented blueprint was agreed to by all the world’s countries and leading development institutions. This course will provide an overview of how advancements in international health architecture contributed to meeting many of those goals related to infectious disease and how they are evolving to contribute to future challenges. The first component will introduce the basics of infectious disease epidemiology, with a focus on HIV/AIDS. We will then relate these concepts to the design of international institutions that have evolved over the past 17 years, such as the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and analyze how their impacts contributed to the successes realized in international health. The second component will examine how today’s international health architecture is developing to address emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, with a focus on the recent Ebola and Zika outbreaks.
Felice M. Apter, PhD, is an adjunct professor at Georgetown Medical School and a visiting fellow at the Center for Global Development. With more than 30 years of experience in biomedical science, global health policy, and the development of global health architecture, she has a record of success in advancing complex international health efforts across governmental, non-governmental, academic, and philanthropic organizations.

R901  Finding Our Way: A Workshop on Self Re-discovery

Tuesdays, 2:15–3:40, Jan. 23–Feb. 13
Rose Gallery at Reston Community Center, Lake Anne
Instructor: Anne Drissel
As our lives evolve, we must adapt to change. The selves that we were as careerists, achievers, parents, activists, or volunteers give way in our later years to new opportunities. We are no longer driven by new titles, bonuses, winning soccer tournaments, or beating rush-hour traffic. This workshop is about discovery. We will take time and thought to notice opportunities missed or not yet explored, and consider what once held us back. What would it take to pursue them now? Yes, there will be homework! We will notice, reflect, write, compose, create, and interpret. We will share some of our stories with fellow workshop members. Together we will help each other find that unique way that awakens the self who beckons to be set free.
Anne Drissel graduated from University of Maryland with a BS in family and community development. She retired in 2014 as a business architect in the Office of Biometric Information Management, US Department of Homeland Security. She is a certified leadership coach (Georgetown University) and was vice president for behavioral health services for a Texas regional healthcare system.


R902  Trip Tales

Thursdays, 9:40–11:05, Jan. 25–Feb. 15
Coordinators: Stan and Judy Schretter
A six-day Atlantic crossing, national parks and sites from Rhode Island to California, Ireland’s west coast, Beluga whales and polar bears are just a few of the adventures that will warm our chilly Reston winter. Join us to discuss these and other 2017 adventures.


Reston Community Center 2017–18 Professional Touring        Artists Series

OLLI is collaborating with the Reston Community Center by promoting several of their 2017-18 Professional Touring Artists Series events scheduled for CenterStage at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods. In return, OLLI members are provided a discounted rate to attend. Please register for the select events below using the OLLI member portal. Registrations are limited and will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis. Check out the rest of the Reston Community Center Professional Touring Artists Series events under the CenterStage schedule at:


R951  RCC Professional Touring Artist Series: What’s Going On: The Marvin Gaye Project in Partnership with Dance Place

Wednesday, 8:00 p.m., Feb. 7
Reston Community Center, Hunters Woods
Event limit: 20
Fee: $20
The music of Marvin Gaye is given a fresh perspective with choreography by Vincent E. Thomas, Ralph Glenmore, and Sylvia Soumah in this evening-length work that features modern, jazz, and West African dance, provoking thoughtful engagement with audience members. What’s Going On begins conversations that can spark change in each community it touches. The Gin Dance Company has been asked to join this performance. What’s Going On is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation Fund project co-commissioned by Dance Place in partnership with the CenterStage at Reston Community Center, King Arts Complex, and NPN. It is also the winner of Best Dance Performance in Baltimore magazine (August 2017). Registrations will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis. A fee of $20, payable to OLLI at time of registration, will cover the cost of the ticket. Tickets will be reserved in your name and available for pick-up at the Reston Community Center, Hunters Woods Box Office. OLLI cannot guarantee a refund for this event once you have paid for your reservation.


1003BT  RCC Professional Touring Artist Series: Rahim AlHaj presents Letters from Iraq

Saturday, 8:00 p.m., Feb. 24
Reston Community Center, Hunters Woods
Event limit: 20
Fee: $20
In Letters from Iraq (Smithsonian Folkways, 2017), this two-time Grammy nominee’s eight compositions for oud, string quintet, and percussion convey the story of contemporary Baghdad from the fall of Saddam Hussein to the present day. AlHaj, one of the world’s most renowned oud masters, began writing the music after he read touching personal letters he received from Iraqi women and children during a 2014 trip to his homeland. This virtuoso musician has created chamber music that beautifully depicts a city in crisis but not without hope. “Unique combination of traditional and innovative performance techniques, AlHaj’s spontaneous inventions are constantly fascinating.” — Los Angeles Times.
Registrations will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis. A fee of $20, payable to OLLI at time of registration, will cover the cost of the ticket. Tickets will be reserved in your name and available for pick-up at the Reston Community Center, Hunters Woods Box Office. OLLI cannot guarantee a refund for this event once you have paid for your reservation.


L952  A Fresh Look at Jane Austen

Monday, 11:50–1:15, Jan. 22
Instructor: Beth Lambert
Why a “fresh” look? After all, Jane Austen is a well-known quantity in the literary world. In fact, this year, the 200th anniversary of her death, the British put her picture on the ten-pound note. That, if anything, should prove her resiliency to the fickle fortunes of literary fame. However, how many judge her novels to be just another woman-gets-her-man romance, albeit dressed in 18th-century style? How many categorize them as “chick lit” for those with old-fashioned literary tastes? Does the average reader know Jane Austen to be a novelist possessed of extraordinary insight into human nature in its many forms, and who has a delightfully deft command of satire and humor? In fact, she dealt with the social and political issues of her time in such a way as to make the modern reader acutely aware that not much has changed in 200 years. Accordingly, there is no better time than now to take a fresh look at Jane Austen’s talents and to recognize in her all the rich facets of an extraordinary writer.
Beth Lambert is the coordinator of the Reston OLLI program and the History Club. In 2008 she retired from Gettysburg College, where she taught courses on all aspects of 18th-century Britain.


R953  Eating Right for Cancer Prevention

Tuesday, 9:40–11:05, Jan. 23
United Christian Parish
Instructor: Katie Strong
How does diet affect your risk of developing cancer? Do certain foods help or hurt? No single food or food component can protect against cancer by itself, but strong evidence does show that certain dietary patterns can help lower the risk of developing many cancers. This presentation will help you understand the latest research on cancer prevention and lifestyle, evidence-based recommendations, and the role of “superfoods.”
Katie Strong received an MS in nutrition from Virginia Tech and completed her dietetic internship at the NIH Clinical Center. A registered dietitian nutritionist, she serves as Fairfax County’s Virginia cooperative extension agent specializing in foods, nutrition, and health. Strong develops community-based programs that teach youth, adults, and seniors skills to prevent chronic disease, handle food safely, and spend money wisely. She has developed and presented numerous short courses and presentations on various subjects including weight management, bone health, lifestyle and cancer, vegetarian nutrition, and food safety.


L954  Hillbilly Elegy: Discussion Group

Tuesday, 11:50–1:15, Jan. 23
Moderator: Nancy Scheeler
J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and a Culture in Crisis headed The New York Times Hardcover Nonfiction Best Seller List for months. Why? The Times’ own review offers an explanation: “Now, along comes Mr. Vance, offering a compassionate, discerning sociological analysis of the white underclass that has helped drive the politics of rebellion, particularly the ascent of Donald J. Trump. Combining thoughtful inquiry with firsthand experience, Mr. Vance has inadvertently provided a civilized reference guide for an uncivilized election, and he’s done so in a vocabulary intelligible to both Democrats and Republicans.” Vance’s account of his life story to date raises questions that merit discussion. What exactly are the problems that are discouraging and angering so many Americans? What drives these problems? What can be done to alleviate them? How can we in Northern Virginia begin to understand the cultural upheaval that is our current political landscape? In the mode of a book club discussion, we will spend a class session considering these questions. The intent is to use the book as a prism for understanding the major issues and identifying some possible ways forward.
Nancy Scheeler has no credentials in American political history, sociology, or American culture other than living in the United States for her whole life. She is the co-leader of the Reston Book Club, where OLLI members enjoy discussions of books based on their own observations and insights. She is hoping that OLLI members can tackle the questions raised by Hillbilly Elegy in a balanced and civilized manner.


F955  Book Talk: Tommy Lasorda: My Way

Tuesday, 2:15–3:40, Jan. 23
Fairfax Lord of Life
Instructor: Colin Gunderson
Coordinator: Jim Dunphy
Author Colin Gunderson will discuss his recent book, Tommy Lasorda: My Way, which documents Lasorda’s life and the lessons he taught through baseball. Lasorda believed that winning wasn’t about being the best, but about believing you are the best. The discussion will take attendees through Lasorda’s days as a player and the manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, including their two World Series championships in 1981 and 1988. It also will take a peek at what makes Lasorda tick: his relationship with his father, Sabatino, whom he emulated; his childhood growing up in Norristown, Pennsylvania, working odd jobs; and his unfailing work ethic. That work ethic helped him become one of baseball’s most successful managers as he won two World Series, four National League pennants, and eight division titles with the Dodgers.
Colin Gunderson worked for the Los Angeles Dodgers for 13 years, 12 of them as press coordinator and assistant to Tommy Lasorda. He lives in Alexandria, Virginia.


L956  How to Take Control of Your Health and Wellness Through Mindfulness Practice

Tuesday, 2:15–3:40, Jan. 23
Instructor: Martha Brettschneider
Can practicing mindfulness improve your health and well-being? Yes! Join us to learn how mindfulness practice—and meditation in particular—has been proven to reduce stress, improve health markers, ease sleep problems, and strengthen resiliency. Did you know, for example, that meditation increases density in the areas of the brain that control memory, attentiveness, and empathy, while shrinking areas that control anxiety and nervous tension? Come learn why this ancient practice has become mainstream and experience how to do it in this introduction to mindfulness meditation.
Martha Brettschneider, founder of Damselwings, LLC, provides coaching and inspirations for mindful living. Author, blogger, master gardener, and award-winning photographer, Brettschneider cultivates mindfulness through creative channels and offers innovative programs that help people establish their own meditation habits, including her 30-Day Mindfulness Meditation Challenge. Brettschneider’s journey has taken her from being a stressed-out international economist, screaming mom, and breast cancer survivor, to being a meditation-touting creative entrepreneur finally at peace with the world. Her book is titled Blooming into Mindfulness: How the Universe Used a Garden, Cancer, and Carpools to Teach Me That Calm Is the New Happy.


F957  The Blues: Where It Came from and How We Got Here

Wednesday, 2:15–3:40, Jan. 24
Fairfax Lord of Life
Instructor: Walter Todenhoft
Everybody knows about the blues, right? Well, maybe not. What is this musical form? Who invented it? Where did it start? Come along as we find  the answers to these questions and listen to a wide range of music that we call the blues. You may discover that the blues is much more prevalent in music than you think.
Walter Todenhoft has a bachelor of music education from Indiana University and a master’s degree in clarinet performance from the University of Maryland. He was a clarinetist, saxophonist, and drum major with The United States Army Band, “Pershing’s Own,” from 1982–2012. He has performed professionally since 1972 in many classical, jazz, and rock ensembles including the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra, the Arlington Philharmonic, Tennessee Ernie Ford, The Temptations, The Manhattan Transfer. He has also played in groups that accompanied Hal Linden, Bob Hope, Red Skelton, and many more.


R958  The Legend Lives On: “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”

Wednesday, 2:15–3:40, Jan. 24
Rose Gallery at Reston Community Center, Lake Anne
Instructor: Jim Dunphy
In November 1975, the SS Edmund Fitzgerald sank in a storm on Lake Superior. It was one of many ships that sank in the Great Lakes and probably would have been forgotten, but in August 1976, Gordon Lightfoot had a top five smash hit with his song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” In this class, we will first look at Lightfoot and what his influences were while writing the ballad. Next, we will look at the background of the Edmund Fitzgerald, the “crew and good captain well-seasoned,” the theories as to why the ship sank, and the search and eventual discovery of the wreckage. After reviewing the history, we will turn back to Lightfoot’s hit and determine how close he was to the historical truth.
Jim Dunphy is a retired federal attorney and retired colonel in the United States Army Reserve. He has taught a number of classes at OLLI, including a class on protest music, the love of which he received from his father. In fact, when both he and his father first heard The Wreck, they both believed that it was a wreck from the 1930s and heard echoes of Woody Guthrie.


F959  Alexander Gardner: An Examination of his Photographic Legacy

Thursday, 11:50–1:15, Jan. 25
Instructor: Barbara Nelson
Coordinator: Angie Talaber

When Alexander Gardner emigrated to the United States in 1856, he had already apprenticed and worked as a jeweler, sold life insurance, and become owner and editor of the Glasgow Sentinel. Eventually he worked as a photographer after seeing Matthew Brady’s work in the 1851 Great Exhibition in Hyde Park. He started working for Brady in New York in 1856, specializing in large Imperial photographs, then opened Brady’s Washington studio in 1858; he eventually debuted his own DC studio in 1862. Gardner took more images of Abraham Lincoln than any other photographer, including the famous cracked-plate image taken in February 1865. He also literally carted his photographic equipment to the Civil War battlefields, showing the carnage to the American public. He was the only photographer invited to chronicle the executions of the assassins of President Lincoln on July 7, 1865. After the war, Gardner went west to survey the proposed route of the Kansas Pacific Railroad, photographing the Native Americans and the remarkable landscape. In 2015–2016 the National Portrait Gallery displayed a remarkable exhibit entitled “Dark Fields,” showing Alexander Gardner’s work, and this presentation includes many of those remarkable images.
Barbara Nelson, an OLLI member, taught for over 30 years at the secondary level, the last 20 at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. She has taught a number of literature classes at OLLI. This presentation is based on her experience as a docent at the National Portrait Gallery, where she personally showed Alexander Gardner’s work to many visitors.


R960  Quick Write

Thursday, 11:50–1:15, Jan. 25
United Christian Parish
Instructor: Chuck Cascio
In this session, the instructor will provide scenarios for participants to write about within a limited timeframe, sometimes as brief as five minutes. Participants then will share their writing with the instructor and others, and receive immediate feedback on their efforts.
Chuck Cascio is an award-winning journalist, educator, writer, and business leader, with six published books.


L961  Artificial Intelligence: Great Applications for Daily Living

Thursday, 11:50–1:15, Jan. 25
Instructor: Cherie Lejeune
Artificial Intelligence: friend or foe? AI, as it is called, is being integrated into everyone’s daily life. Will it be useful for you? Talking with a digital device like a smartphone or Amazon’s Alexa (who “lives” in Amazon’s products) gives you the ability to source online information and even control your home thermostat or refrigerator. For seniors whose eyesight or dexterity may be declining, these new voice-recognition tools can be tremendously helpful. This class will explore verbal commands for phones and will give you a chance to try out the Amazon products.
Cherie Lejeune found a third-act career as a champion for technology awareness and best-use practices for seniors. She has taught workshops, been a panelist for seminars, and works one-on-one with both cognitively challenged adults and their caregivers. Lejeune consults with cutting-edge gaming companies who are focusing on health applications in the emerging voice recognition industry.


R962  Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting: Inspiration and Rivalry

Thursday, 2:15–3:40, Jan. 25
United Christian Parish
Instructor: Adrienne Wyman Kralick
Coordinator: Ann Youngren

Johannes Vermeer is one of the best-loved painters of all time, capturing quiet moments of beauty in everyday Dutch life. In conjunction with the landmark exhibition Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting at the National Gallery of Art, this course will explore Vermeer and his contemporaries’ paintings from 1650–1675. The class will place the artists in historical, artistic, and social context, while viewing the paintings that were in the exhibit and getting to know the artists, their inspirations, and their rivalries. Finally, no lecture on Vermeer would be complete without examining the forger who fooled the Nazis, Han van Meegeren, and the greatest art hoax of the 20th century. Please note: this presentation comes just days after the Vermeer exhibit closes on January 21, 2018. Those enrolling in this presentation are encouraged to visit the exhibit before it closes so that you can enhance your experience.
Adrienne Wyman Kralick is an accomplished oil painter, teacher, and exhibiting artist best known for lifelike portraits, intimate mother-and-child paintings, and vibrant African market scenes. She is passionate about art history and always searching to answer that age-old question “How did they do that?” Kralick gives museum tours from an artist’s perspective and teaches painting classes infused with lessons from art history at The Smithsonian Associates and venues in the DC area and abroad. The Washington Post has described her portraits as “elegant.” More information and images of her work may be seen at


F963  Baseball Promotions Gone Bad

Friday, 1:00–2:30, Jan. 26
Note time
Instructor: Jim Dunphy
Everybody loves a promotion at the ball park—getting a free t-shirt, hat or bobblehead, or perhaps having a special event or concert before or after the ball game. But some promotions make you wonder “What were those people thinking?” In this class, we will look at some of the most boneheaded promotions in baseball history. After all, what could possibly go wrong with Disco Demolition Night? Ten Cent Beer Night? Dropping money from a helicopter flying over the stands? Free Compost Night? Wet T-shirt Night? We will look at all of these and more, and try to figure out why people in the marketing departments of these teams didn’t say, “Hold on! Let’s wait a minute on this one!”
Jim Dunphy, who was born in Brooklyn shortly before the Dodgers left, had the misfortune of first being a Mets fan when he grew up, and then moving to the DC area shortly after the Senators decamped for Texas. He has been a partial season-ticket holder for the Nationals since 2012, and will take credit for the fact that during that year they were in the post season for the first time. Six years later, he is still waiting for the first post-season series win.


L964  Movie: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

Monday, 11:30–1:30, Jan. 29
Note time
Presenter: Martha Powers
In recognition of Black History Month in February, please join us for this groundbreaking 1967 movie starring Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, and Sidney Poitier. When a white couple’s daughter returns from a Hawaiian vacation with an African American fiancé, her liberal parents—and the parents of the prospective fiancé—are forced to come face-to-face with racial realities. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner was released in 1967, just six months after anti-miscegenation laws were struck down by the Supreme Court. This was Spencer Tracy’s last movie, and it was nominated for ten Academy Awards.
See F408 for instructor information.


F965  The Psychology of Art, Fiction, and Imagination

Monday, 2:15–3:40, Jan. 29
Instructor: Thalia Goldstein
Why do humans engage with fiction? What fiction might help children and adults learn? What is the psychology behind sad movies and other art that makes us feel bad?
Thalia Goldstein, PhD, is an assistant professor of psychology at Mason. She has published extensive research about acting, fiction writing, imagination, and creativity.


L966  Commedia Workshop

Monday, 2:15–3:40, Jan. 29
Instructor: Scott Pafumi
Coordinator: Kathie West
Commedia dell’arte is a classical form of theater that began in Italy in the mid-16th century and was popular through the 18th century. This lecture is an interactive workshop on the history of Commedia. It will be presented through the commedia dell’arte form of acting. Teaching, performing, and audience participation will be components of this interactive workshop.
Scott Pafumi is a 20-year secondary theatre educator, having taught in Fairfax County Public Schools and as an adjunct theatre professor for the Loudoun campus of NOVA. He holds a BA in theatre from Virginia Tech and an MA in arts management from George Mason University. Pafumi’s work with his students over the last two decades has included mounting over 60 theatrical productions of Shakespeare’s plays, modern musicals, and contemporary comedies and dramas. His productions have earned him local, state, and national recognition. In 2008 his theatre program was the subject of a two-hour special on ABC’s 20/20, a documentary entitled Drama High: the Making of a High School Musical.


L967  Touch Up Your Memoir

Tuesday, 11:50–1:15, Jan. 30
Instructor: Kathie West
Is your memoir a postcard memoir, a chronological memoir, or just a thought bouncing around in your head? This class will give you tips on how to write different kinds of memoirs, and will provide templates to help you get started. Our goal is to make memoir writing fun while taking you far deeper than just the tip of the iceberg.
See F402 for instructor information.


L968  How to Succeed as National Security Advisor Without Really Trying

Tuesday, 11:50–1:15, Jan. 30
Instructor: Michael Leavitt
Coordinator: Barbara Wilan

This lecture will cover the role of the National Security Council (NSC), a federal government institution frequently in the news. The NSC was created shortly after WWII and was intended to be the principal forum used by the president for analysis of national security and foreign policy matters. The director of the NSC is the assistant to the president for National Security Affairs, often referred to as the National Security Advisor. The 24 advisors to date have had a mixed record of success in fulfilling this mission; this discussion will suggest some reasons for success and failure.
Michael Leavitt has worked in the government, private sector, and not-for-profit world as a political scientist, computer scientist, and information technologist.received a PhD in international relations from Northwestern University and, after retiring from the CIA, earned an MA in Jewish studies from the Baltimore Hebrew University. In the last decade, Leavitt has taught a variety of courses at OLLI. His complete list of teaching and lecturing activities since retirement can be found at


F969  What You Should Know About Popeye’s Best Girl, Olive Oil

Tuesday, 2:15–3:40, Jan. 30
Fairfax Lord of Life
Instructor: Bob Coffin
Event limit: 50
Cost: $15
Discover the many types of olive oil, how they are created, and the differences among varieties from countries with distinct climates, cultures, and clientele. We will try at least three different olive oils—one delicate, one medium, one robust. Learn to swirl and taste it like a fine wine. You may notice the scent of fresh-cut grass, cinnamon, tropical fruits, smoke, or ripe or green olive to get more flavors and nuances, from buttery to briny. For palate cleansers between olive oils, we will have sparkling water and slices of tart apple. Then we will pair, and compare, the oils with a host of foods including bread, warm potatoes, greens, chicken, cannellini, Parmesan, mozzarella, tomatoes, and more. A fee of $15, payable to OLLI at time of registration, covers the cost of the food for this event. Registrations will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis.
Bob Coffin, an OLLI member, is a retired US Army foreign area officer and Fairfax County high school teacher. For ten years he taught a quick-and-easy cooking class for Alternative High School students. Previously he has offered cheese, wine, and tomato tastings, made a mean Caesar salad, and provided a Shakespearean feast for OLLI members.


F970  For Brotherhood and Duty: The Civil War History of the West Point Class of 1862

Wednesday, 2:15–3:40, Jan. 31
Fairfax Lord of Life
Instructor: Brian McEnany
There are countless studies about West Point and its famous graduates, but this instructor’s award-winning book brings to life the struggles and contributions of the members of the class of 1862. These cadets watched as the nation dissolved around them. Events such as John Brown’s raid, the rise of the Confederacy, and the attack on Fort Sumter challenged long-held beliefs. By graduation day, half of this class had resigned; only 28 remained. Brian will relate stories about West Point and then follow 12 Union and four Confederate classmates onto the battlefield to present a fascinating chronicle about those who became antagonists during the greatest conflict ever fought on American soil.
Brian McEnany graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1962 and has an MS in operations research and statistics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is a retired lieutenant colonel, a member of the Bull Run Civil War Round Table, and the author of several historical articles about West Point during the Civil War. His book received the 2015 award for Best Civil War Study from the New York Military Affairs Symposium and has been reviewed nine times in various Civil War newspapers and journals.


R971  The Art of Cabaret

Wednesday, 2:15–3:40, Jan. 31
Rose Gallery at Reston Community Center, Lake Anne
Instructor: Luke Frazier
Coordinator: Martha Powers
Join Maestro Frazier for a delightful presentation highlighting the greatest cabaret singers of yesterday and today. You’ll enjoy his lively overview of cabaret style and the many different personalities who have created this amazing art form.
Luke Frazier is founder and conductor of The American Pops Orchestra, which now calls Arena Stage home. He has also conducted at the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and Lincoln Center, among many others. He holds a BM in piano performance from West Virginia University and an MM in conducting from Ohio University.


L972  Future History

Thursday, 9:40–11:05, Feb. 1
Instructor: Al Carroll
Coordinator: Barbara Wilan

One of the most important benefits of studying history is the ability to predict and warn. This lecture will present both successful and unsuccessful examples of predicting the future, and will use current trends and writings (including science fiction) to predict the likeliest futures of the United States and humanity in the next 25 years and beyond.
Al Carroll is associate professor of United States American Indian, and Latin American history at NOVA. He received his MA from Purdue University and his PhD from Arizona State University. Previously he taught at San Antonio College, St. Philip’s College in San Antonio, Texas, and was a Fulbright scholar in Indonesia. He is the author or editor of six books and numerous articles.


F973  Book Talk: The Last Lynching in Northern Virginia

Thursday, 11:50–1:15, Feb. 1
Instructor: Jim Hall
Coordinator: Martha Powers
The body of Shedrick Thompson was discovered hanging from an apple tree on Rattlesnake Mountain. Soon a crowd gathered and set fire to it. When a deputy sheriff tried to put out the flames, a man stuck a pistol in his ribs and said, “Let it burn.” In this class, we will examine lynchings in Virginia, including the 77 incidents that occurred throughout the state from 1880–1930. Using on-screen visuals, the lecturer will explore the reasons, frequency, and distribution for these deaths. Emphasis will be given to one particular case, Thompson’s 1932 hanging in Fauquier County. Thompson, a black farmhand, attacked his employers, a white couple, assaulting the husband and abducting and raping the wife. Posses searched for him without success. Finally, when a farmer found his body two months later, officials ruled his death a suicide. Fauquier residents, then and now, disputed the verdict, saying that Thompson died at the hands of his neighbors.
Jim Hall is a retired newspaper reporter and the author of The Last Lynching in Northern Virginia, a nonfiction account of the Thompson case. He has an MS in mass communication from Virginia Commonwealth University, with an emphasis on how Virginia newspapers covered lynching.


R974  Jewish Women Authors

Thursday, 11:50–1:15, Feb. 1
United Christian Parish
Instructor: Deb Smith-Cohen
Coordinator: Jackie Gropman
From literary to beach reads, mystery to history, and classic to contemporary, these authors present cultural insights and distinctive characters.
Deborah Smith-Cohen is the assistant branch manager at the Patrick Henry Library.


L975  The Empire State Building Dirigible Mooring Mast

Thursday, 11:50–1:15, Feb. 1
Instructor: Peter Ansoff
The spire on top of the Empire State Building was originally designed to be a mooring mast for passenger dirigibles. It was never actually used for that purpose—but what if it had been? This course will discuss the historical background of the concept, followed by a description of how it might have worked, some of the problems involved, and the reasons why it never came to pass. A 1/700 scale model of the Empire State Building and a representative dirigible will be used to illustrate some aspects of the concept.
Peter Ansoff, an OLLI member, is retired from a career as an acquisition support contractor for the US Navy. He is a former president of the North American Vexillological Association (an organization dedicated to the study of flags), and he has published several research papers dealing with early flags of the United States. His other research interests include maritime history and lighter-than-air aviation history.


R976  Women Can Write Poetry, Too

Thursday, 2:15–3:40, Feb. 1
United Christian Parish
Instructor: Connie Geller
Conrad Geller knows very little about either poetry or women, but he will try to tell you something about both. With few exceptions, English poetry has been mostly a male domain, but in the first half of the 20th century some very powerful women poets began to assert themselves. This presentation will feature a reading and discussion of some of the best of these poets, including Amy Lowell, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Hilda Doolittle (know as “H.D.”), and Adelaide Crapsey (there really was a poet with that name). None of the presentation will be in the least bit political or sociological.
OLLI member Conrad Geller is an avid though inexpert reader of English literature. Previous courses he has taught at OLLI include “Strictly Sonnets,” “English Ain’t What You Think,” and “Selections from Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales.”


F977  Ten Commandments

Friday, 1:00–2:30, Feb. 2
Note time
Instructor: Gilah Goldsmith
When we speak of the Ten Commandments, which ten do we mean? Jewish, Roman Catholic and Lutheran, or Eastern Orthodox and Protestant? Do we mean the ten listed in Exodus 20 or in Deuteronomy 5? Where in the Bible does it say that they are commandments? Are they laws? Do they apply to everyone? Let’s take a really close look at the various versions available to us today and explore these questions. Then, perhaps, you will find your own answers.
See F604 for instructor information.


L978  The Missing Einstein Manuscript: My Family’s History with Albert Einstein and Scientific Publishing

Monday, 11:50–1:15, Feb. 5
Instructor: Jeffrey Metzger
Coordinators: Susan Falkson, Glenn Kamber
The instructor’s maternal family played a pivotal role in scientific publishing in Germany in the early 20th century. The family firm was the publisher for a number of the world’s most important scientists, including Nobel laureates Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, and Werner Heisenberg, among others. Follow Metzger’s fascinating story of the creation of the earliest existing manuscript on the special theory of relativity, considered lost for many years; the rediscovery of the manuscript years later; and the subsequent sale and history of the document through the present day. We will also learn about his family’s late escape from Nazi Germany on a very unlikely route through Japan to the United States. This is a very interesting, albeit non-technical, discussion of a key Einstein manuscript. The instructor will also show artifacts related to the manuscript.
Jeff Metzger is an attorney who worked for the Department of Justice, in private practice, and most recently for a Fortune 500 company, where he headed up the worldwide litigation as well as federal government legal and contracts groups. Metzger has particular interests in history and politics and anything composed by Johann Sebastian Bach. He is also an avid collector of original Audubon prints.


F979  Murder Most British

Tuesday, 2:15–3:40, Feb. 6
Fairfax Lord of Life
Instructor: Kay Menchel
Coordinator: Nancy Scheeler

In this class we will take a quick tour of Britain and uncover the murderous inhabitants of quaint English villages, cosmopolitan cities, and seemingly peaceful Scottish islands. We’ll encounter a pharmacopeia of poisons, locked rooms, unlikely detectives, and plenty of red herrings. This is a light-hearted look at the British murder mystery genre in all its glory.
Kay Menchel, who grew up in Yorkshire, England, is a lawyer who also holds an MA in English literature from George Mason University. She enjoys sharing her passion for English literature with OLLI members.


F980  US Relations with Myanmar (Formerly Burma)

Wednesday, 2:15–3:40, Feb. 7
Fairfax Lord of Life
Instructor: Derek Mitchell
“This is Burma and it is unlike any land you know about.” —Rudyard Kipling
The emergence of Myanmar (Burma) from 50 years of military dictatorship into a nascent democracy has been one of the few good-news stories of recent years. Following elections in 2015, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi became de facto leader of the country, offering fresh hope to an iconic but long-suffering country. Nonetheless, the country continues to face severe challenges and a difficult geography, sitting between the world’s two largest nations, China and India. Headlines have documented the tragic oppression of the Muslim Rohingya population living along its border with Bangladesh. This course will examine these issues in detail, as well as address why Myanmar matters to the United States, and discuss the role President Obama’s “principled engagement” policy had in Myanmar’s recent transition.
Derek Mitchell served as US ambassador to Myanmar from 2012 to 2016. Mitchell has nearly 30 years of experience in Asia. He currently serves as senior advisor at the US Institute of Peace and the Albright Stonebridge Group, and has a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.


R981  Murder Most British

Wednesday, 2:15–3:40, Feb. 7
Rose Gallery at Reston Community Center, Lake Anne
Instructor: Kay Menchel
Coordinator: Nancy Scheeler

This presentation is a repeat of F979.


F982  Principles and Practices of Cybersecurity

Thursday, 11:50–1:15, Feb. 8
Instructor: Christine Pommerening
Coordinator: Luci Martel
Hackers and bots, malware and ransomware—cyberspace is full of seemingly intractable threats, yet there are some surprisingly simple principles and practices that can be applied to increase cybersecurity, for both government systems and individuals. Learn how to protect your own home computer and mobile phone. This seminar will introduce the most common identity and access management tools and processes, and the policies guiding their implementation. No technical background is required; anyone who can turn on a computer can benefit from this seminar.
Christine Pommerening has taught at Mason since 2004. Her areas of expertise include infrastructure and cyber-physical systems security, risk management and resilience, as well as national and international governance. She was a senior research associate at the Center for Infrastructure Protection at the George Mason University School of Law, focusing on public- and private-sector responses to industrial accidents, natural disasters, and terrorist attacks. Currently Pommerening is a managing director at novaturient, a consultancy specializing in organizational change and risk management. She holds a PhD in public policy from George Mason University.


R983  Book Talk: The French Revolution and Napoleon in Global Perspective

Thursday, 11:50–1:15, Feb. 8
United Christian Parish
Instructor: Jack Censer
Coordinator: Jennifer Disano

Histories of the French Revolution, begun when the event was barely underway, have continued apace for well over two centuries. Evolving, and generally improving, have been the general accounts of the event. The French Revolution and Napoleon: Crucible of the Modern World by Lynn Hunt and Jack Censer, benefits from prior syntheses, monographic research, and deep engagement with the documentary evidence. The book differs with others in two primary ways as it goes beyond the revolutionary decade (1789–1799) to include Napoleon (1800–1815), and also places events in France in a global perspective. This study is Hunt and Censer’s second general survey (the first was published in 2001), and they believe this one is not only different, but more adventurous in its interpretations.
Professor emeritus Jack Censer earned his PhD at Johns Hopkins University and spent over 40 years at Mason, where he also served as chair of the Department of History and Art History, and dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. In retirement, he has continued his interest in revolutions generally and has most recently authored, with Lynn Hunt, The French Revolution and Napoleon: Crucible of the Modern World (Bloomsbury Press, 2017).


L984  The Consummate Citizen-Soldier: Charles Russell Lowell, Jr.

Thursday, 11:50–1:15, Feb. 8
Instructor: Jim Lewis
Charles Russell Lowell was born into a life of privilege in the Boston area; however, he chose a different path. He rejected his youthful belief in self-culture in favor of a philosophy that found meaning in action. In war, unlike in civilian life, he felt he could see what needed to be done and could do it. In the American Civil War Lowell found purpose. This presentation follows his trials and tribulations during the war years as he emerged as one of the Union cavalry’s exceptional battlefield commanders. Interwoven throughout the presentation is a beautiful love story as Charles meets and eventually marries Josephine Shaw, one of the most prominent citizens in New York City. Of note, a portion of their journey pertains to his (and her) life while he commanded the 2nd Massachusetts Cavalry in 1863–64 on Ayr Hill in Vienna, Virginia.
Jim Lewis is a noted Civil War and World War II historian, lecturer, and local Civil War site tour guide. He recently visited Europe to do in-depth research for his latest work, The Battle of Normandy through the Bulge. His works include: The Hunter Mill Road Civil War Self-Guided Tour, Forgotten Roads of the Hunter Mill Road Corridor, and Sunstroke and Ankle-deep Mud.


F985  HomeFit

Friday, 1:00–2:30, Feb. 9
Note time
Instructor: Suba Saty
Limit: 30
HomeFit shows home owners how they can modify their homes so they can age in place for a safer living space. Condo owners and renters are also welcome.
Suba Saty has been an AARP Community Ambassador for over two years. In that capacity, he provides presentations on fraud/identity theft and on HomeFit, smart solutions from AARP for making your home comfortable and safe. Saty also serves as an English conversation leader at the Lorton Library and the Kingstowne Senior Center, and he volunteers at Crestwood Elementary School, assisting students with their reading and writing.


L986  Dealing with Difficult People

Monday, 11:50–1:15, Feb. 12
Instructor: John Weinstein
Coordinator: Barbara Wilan
Words matter! What we say and how we say it make the difference between an argument and voluntary compliance with others. The words we choose, our tone, pitch, and volume, along with our non-verbal cues, can further our goals or, in the case of a toxic situation, defuse it. How we speak and interact with others can also reduce friction and enhance our reputation as caring individuals. The principles covered can also be used for more effective and amicable communication between colleagues and spouses, and between parents and children. This entertaining class covers:

  • Ten phrases you should never use.
  • Why others do not hear what we say.
  • How to establish a link to build rapport between yourself and an angry person .
  • The biggest obstacles to effective communication.
  • How to end an angry person’s rant.
  • Techniques that will help you gain compliance while keeping yourself safe.

Lt. John Weinstein, a 15-year law enforcement veteran, is a NOVA Police Department commander, overseeing strategic planning and community outreach. He is a certified instructor in verbal judo, firearms, and active shooter tactical response, and he teaches communications, firearms, officer survival, active incident response, and patrol techniques at local police academies. Weinstein holds a PhD in international politics and is a nationally recognized expert in nuclear weapons command and control. He regularly contributes to Campus Safety magazine and serves on its editorial board. In his spare time, he is a cross-country motorcyclist.


F987  Book Talk: The French Revolution and Napoleon in Global Perspective

Tuesday, 2:15–3:40, Feb. 13
Fairfax Lord of Life
Instructor: Jack Censer
Coordinator: Jennifer Disano

This is a repeat of R983.


R988  Valentine’s Day Movie: When Harry Met Sally

Wednesday, 1:30–3:30, Feb. 14
Note time
Rose Gallery at Reston Community Center, Lake Anne
Presenter: Martha Powers
Can a man and woman be friends, without sex getting in the way? High time to find out! Join us for some Valentine’s Day goodies, followed by the delightful romantic comedy, When Harry Met Sally. This 1989 feature film, based on a screenplay by Nora Ephron, stars Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan, along with brilliant supporting actors like Carrie Fisher and Bruno Kirby—not to mention director Rob Reiner’s mother, Estelle, with her show-stopping quip, “I’ll have what she’s having.” Unsurpassed for witty dialogue, this movie is a lighthearted way to celebrate laughter, love, and life.
See F408 for instructor information.


F989  Name That Bird!

Wednesday, 2:15–3:40, Feb. 14
Fairfax Lord of Life
Instructor: Carl Kikuchi
Coordinator: Lynn Cline
Class limit: 30
Have you ever wondered about the birds around you? What are their names and habits? Besides your backyard, where are the best places to find birds, and how do you locate them? Once you find them, what are the key attributes that pinpoint each species? This course is designed for beginning birdwatchers who want to learn how to identify birds and get tips on where to join others in this pursuit.
Carl Kikuchi is president of the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia. He has been an enthusiastic birder for over 12 years, and considers himself an “expert beginner.” He retired from the US Department of Justice in 2012.


F990  Iditarod: The Last Great Race!

Thursday, 11:45–1:45, Feb. 15
Note time
Instructor: Dorothy M. Cunningham
Class limit: 25
The Iditarod is a 1,046-mile race run over dangerous mountains and hazardous terrain with the best-conditioned athletes: beautiful, well-trained dogs who comprise a team lead by a musher (driver). In this class you will learn about the unique participants, rules, training of the dogs, veterinary care, and the responsibilities of the musher. The dogs’ desire to run, and to please and protect their musher, makes this race a truly fascinating event. You, too, can follow the race, mushers, and their dogs, cheer on the teams, and witness the dedication of these incredible animals.
Dorothy M. Cunningham holds a BA in English from the University of Rhode Island and has taught in both public and private schools for over 35 years. The Iditarod has been a favorite topic among her students and their parents for many years. On trips to Alaska she has witnessed the start of the race, and interacted with the mushers, veterinarians, and fellow fans. She looks forward to sharing her knowledge and love of the dogs of the Iditarod.


R991  Camp Douglas: The Union’s Andersonville?

Thursday, 11:50–1:15, Feb. 15
United Christian Parish
Instructor: Patrick McGinty
War is brutal. Civil wars are especially brutal. Many of us are familiar with the brutality experienced by Union prisoners of war (POWs) at the Confederate POW camp known as “Andersonville.” But were the Confederate POWs treated any better? We will begin this investigation by examining the plight of Civil War era POWs in general, followed by an examination of a Union POW camp (Camp Douglas). Camp Douglas, named after Steven A. Douglas of Illinois, was located inand was one of the largest Union Army POW campsConfederate soldiers during the Civil War. It was described by one source as “a site of calculated humiliation and torture on a scale unknown in American history.” (Spoiler alert: You would not have wanted to be a Civil War era POW regardless of which side you fought for.)
Patrick McGinty, an OLLI member, is a retired naval officer with an MA and PhD in history from Georgetown University. He has taught various history, political science, and psychology courses in Texas, Maryland, and Virginia. His areas of specialization at University of Maryland University College were the history of terrorism, the history of violence in America, and the history of substance abuse in America.


L992  Making the Move: 55+ Communities, a Panel Discussion

Thursday, 11:50–1:15, Feb. 15
Moderator: Ray Beery
The past 20 years has seen a mushrooming of continuing care retirement communities and 55+ communities in Loudoun County. A number of OLLI members live in them now, and many more want to learn more about them as they consider a move. This panel discussion includes representatives of five of these communities. Each will meet with us, make short presentations, and answer questions. The residences are: Lansdowne Woods of Virginia (formerly Leisure World), Falcons Landing Military Retirement Community, Potomac Green, Waltonwood at Ashburn, and Ashleigh at Lansdowne.
Ray Beery has lived in Lansdowne Woods since 2000, and served on the board of directors there. He teaches regularly at OLLI.


1001BT  I Love Lucy & Desi: A Home Movie

Thursday, 10:00–12:00, Jan. 11
Note time
Presenter: Martha Powers
First aired on CBS on Valentine’s Day, 1993 (and rarely seen since), this lovingly crafted masterpiece was created by Lucie Arnaz, daughter of the famous sitcom couple, and won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Information Special. Lucie’s top-rated documentary delivers an emotional and honest glimpse of her world-famous parents, highlighting rare family movies along with insightful interviews with family members, business associates, and celebrity friends like Bob Hope. It tells the sensitive and absorbing story of the circumstances which brought the immortal twosome together—and ultimately drove them apart. Registration for this event is on a first-come, first -served basis.
See F408 for instructor information.


1002BT  Moliere’s Imaginary Invalid: Coming Down with Something Hilarious

Friday, 1:00–2:30, Feb. 23
Note time
Instructor: Ken Elston
Ken Elston, director of Mason’s School of Theater, discusses the upcoming Mason Players production of The Imaginary Invalid. Elston directed his own translation and adaptation of the play with the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company in Baltimore. Besides helming the School of Theater, he teaches acting and directing.


1101  Coffee and Conversation in Loudoun

Thursday, 9:40–11:05, Jan. 25
Coordinator: Judy Sapienza
Event limit: 30
Grab a cup of coffee and some cookies, and kick off the new term at this casual gathering. Everyone is welcome to enjoy the camaraderie—new members and longstanding members. Registration for this event is on a first-come, first-served basis.


1102  Grab ‘n’ Go Coffee Klatch

Friday, 9:30–10:45, Jan. 26
Note time
Coordinator: Martha Powers
Event limit: 30

Grab a cup of coffee and some cookies, and kick off the new term at this casual gathering in the Social Annex. Everyone is welcome to enjoy the camaraderie—new members, old members, even Board members. Registration for this event is on a first-come, first-served basis.


1103  Ice Cream Social and Mardi Gras Festival

Friday, 1:00–3:00, Feb. 16
(Snow date: Friday, 1:00–3:00, Mar. 2)
Note time
Coordinator: Martha Powers
Laissez les bon temps rouler! It’s February, so once again we’ll defy winter by having ice cream and all the fixin’s—plus hot cocoa and cider for those who need to warm up. This year we’ll celebrate Mardi Gras with fresh entertainment, fun video clips, and a brand-new quiz show to test your wits. Join us and let’s all get the last laugh on Old Man Winter! Registration for this event is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Ongoing Activities

Annex Art Club

Jan. 9–Jan. 16, Feb. 20–Mar. 20, 9:30–12:00
Coordinator: Sue Goldstein   ms.
All artists, whether you use pencil, ink, pastels, charcoal, or paint, are welcome to finish or to start pictures. The group consists of OLLI members at all skill levels. Join us!


Bridge Club

Jan. 10–Jan. 17, Feb. 21–Mar. 21, 10:00–12:00 (out of term)
Jan. 24–Feb. 14, 1:45–3:45 (in term)
Coordinators: Susanne Zumbro                     703-569-2750
                             Gordon Canyock                     703-425-4607
Drop in and enjoy the friendly atmosphere of “party bridge.” Skill levels vary from advanced beginner to aspiring expert. Partnerships are rotated every four hands. The Bridge Club meets in the morning between terms and in the summer, and in the afternoon during the other terms. For details on the club’s rules and bidding system, see its web page on the OLLI website.


Chess Club

Fridays (in term)
Jan. 26–Feb. 16, 1:00–2:30
Mondays (out of term)
Jan. 8, Feb. 26–Mar. 12, 9:30–11:00
Coordinator: William Lane or 703-565-4478
Drop in and enjoy a friendly game of chess. Skill levels vary from not quite beginner to aspiring expert. Opponents rotate and W-L-T records are kept, but the main goal is to have fun with the game. BYOB (bring your own board) if you have one, but some will be provided. We also have one chess clock for timed matches.


Classic Literature Club

Jan. 12–Mar. 23, 11:00–12:30
Coordinator: Bob Zener             703-237-0492
This club was formed to discuss great works of world literature. For winter term we will start with Thomas Mann’s novella, Death in Venice. As background, we will also be reading Plato’s Symposium.


Cooking Club

Monthly dates to be determined
Fairfax Lord of Life
Coordinator: Ute Christoph-Hill
This is a club for OLLI members who enjoy preparing food and sharing hands-on, homemade dishes in a small-group setting. We meet during the day, sometimes in members’ homes and other times at Fairfax Lord of Life or alternative sites. We often have a theme for our meetings, but our format is flexible. We also participate in food-related events, such as ethnic cooking demonstrations and restaurant outings. If these activities appeal to you, please contact Christoph-Hill for more information.


Craft and Conversation Group

Jan. 12–Mar. 23, 9:30–11:00
Coordinators: Doris Bloch                      
Pam Cooper-Smuzynski
We meet weekly to work on our craft projects and to share product sources, expertise, and inspiration. Our ongoing conversations encourage camaraderie, and a group setting motivates us to progress with our current projects. Interested OLLI members are invited to join us to see what we are creating. For more information, please contact Doris Bloch or Susan Osborn.


Dirty Knee Club

As needed during growing season.
Coordinators: Sigrid Carlson
Sally Berman
The OLLI Landscaping Committee, fondly known as the Dirty Knee Club, creates, plants, and maintains the gardens at Tallwood. Gardening expertise is not required, but willingness to get dirty knees is! Members are asked to participate in general garden workdays, primarily in the spring and fall, plus join another member in a team to water, weed, and maintain the gardens during the growing season. Each two-member team serves one week about every five weeks.


Dr. Who Club

First and Third Fridays
Jan. 19, Feb. 2, Feb. 16, Mar. 2, Mar. 16, 1:00–3:00

Coordinator: Wendy Campbell
This group is for those of you interested in Timey Wimey Stuff. We meet to watch Doctor Who on the “big screen” in a Tallwood classroom. We will follow each presentation with discussion. Some of us are new to Who; some of us are very longtime fans. Everyone is welcome. It’s going to be Fantastic—so Allons-y and may I just say—Geronimo!


Ethnic Eats Lunch Club

Monthly on Wednesdays or Fridays, dates to be determined
Location: Local ethnic restaurants
Coordinator: Leti Labell  
Do you love to eat? Are you interested in learning about foods from other cultures? Northern Virginia has an abundance of ethnic restaurants. This new club will meet for lunch on a monthly basis to explore various cuisines. If this sounds like your cup of tea (or chai or té or thé), contact Leti Labell.


History Club

First Wednesdays
Feb. 7, 2:15–3:40 (in term)
Mar. 7, 10:00–11:30 (out of term)
Coordinator: Beth Lambert
We welcome OLLI members who are interested in discussing historical events or sharing reviews of articles, books, or other interesting historical topics. Our meetings feature speakers who present on historical topics ranging from the Silk Road through the present crises in the Middle East—and everything in between. To receive emails about History Club meetings, contact Beth Lambert.


Homer, etc.

Jan. 12–Mar. 23, 11:00–12:30

Coordinator: Jan Bohall     jbohall@verizon.netor      703-273-1146
Join us to read aloud a traditional or contemporary classic. We will continue reading Bulgakov’s Russian satirical novel, The Master and Margarita, which we began at the end of May. Next we will read a selection of short stories by Anton Chekhov. Drop in at the Tallwood Annex any Friday morning; new members are always welcome.


Mah Jongg Club

First and third Wednesdays
Jan. 17, Feb. 21, Mar. 7, Mar. 21,
10:00–12:00 (out of term)
Feb. 7, 1:30–3:30 (in term)
Coordinator: Margaret Massey
We welcome all members who want to learn mah jongg or already know how to play. Stretch your mind and have fun with a game that is (maybe) easier than bridge, but definitely challenging! For more information, contact Margaret or visit the Mah Jongg Club blog at


Memoir—and More—Writing Group

Wednesdays, usually 2:00–4:30
Coordinator: Betty Smith
We meet twice during the fall term and spring term, and every other Wednesday, at or near Tallwood, during the rest of the year. In addition to memoir, we write fiction, poetry, and personal essays. At our meetings we gently critique each other’s works. Like most writing groups, we are small, but right now we’d like to find a few new members. If you’re interested, please email Betty Smith and also sign up in the member portal and we’ll be in touch.


Personal Computer User Group

Generally third Saturdays (except December)
Jan. 20–Mar. 17, 1:00–3:00
Coordinator: Mel Goldfarb
In partnership with the Potomac Area Technology and Computer Society (PATACS), the OLLI PC User Group (OPCUG) focuses on Windows and Mac computers, and software for enhancing our lives. Members and presenters also discuss smartphone and tablet apps across Android and iDevices, the internet, digital photography, related technology, and open-source software. Our aim is to bring broad expertise about technology and topics of interest to attendees. PC clinics for members are offered twice yearly. Our target audience encompasses all computer users, from complete beginners to intermediate amateurs to experts. Our motto is “users helping users.” Club dues (currently $5 per year) are payable at the first meeting attended in each calendar year. Dues-paying members can view monthly sessions online, via the Zoom cloud meeting service, on a variety of devices from home or anywhere with an internet connection. More details are available on the group’s website,


Photography Club

Second Fridays
Jan. 12–Mar. 9, 9:30–11:30
Fourth Fridays
Jan. 26–Mar. 23, 12:00–2:00
Coordinators: Angie Talaber  
                             Dave Talaber    
Meet with experts and others interested in photography and develop skills by participating in theme-based monthly photo submissions. The Photography Club welcomes all members, whether they use a basic camera or specialized equipment, and whether they are novice or experienced photographers. We discuss technical aspects of photography, as well as the artistic aspects of visual design. We have guest speakers on the second Friday of each month, and on the fourth Friday, workshops cover specific topics in detail. We also regularly plan field trips in the local area. Contact Angie or Dave Talaber for further information.


Recorder Consort

Jan. 12–Mar. 23, 9:15–11:30
Coordinator: Helen Ackerman
If you have been part of the consort or have previously played the recorder and would like to expand your abilities, please join us on Fridays. There will be on- and off-campus performances. You may need to purchase music.


Reston Book Club

Jan. 25, 2:15–3:40
United Christian Parish
Coordinators: Luci Martell      
                             Nancy Scheeler
This is a book discussion club for OLLI members who find it convenient to meet at our Reston campus. The purpose is to focus on serious contemporary fiction, primarily—but not limited to—works by American or UK authors. We will avoid current best sellers and look for good novels on the long lists, short lists, and winner lists of the US National Book Award and the UK Man Booker Prize and other major prizes. On January 25 we will discuss The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. This novel won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. It was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize as well.


Spanish Club

Second and fourth Tuesdays (out of term)
Jan. 9, Feb. 13, Mar. 13, Mar. 27, 10:00–11:30
Second and fourth Wednesdays (in term)
Jan. 24, Feb. 14, 1:45–3:15
Coordinators: Dick Cheadle
                             Mark Ramage
This club is designed for those who are in the intermediate stage of understanding and speaking Spanish—further along than 1-2-3 and A-B-C, but not fluent. The club members leading a particular class will choose the subject and prepare the lesson for that class. Members will not have to participate beyond their comfort level.


Tai Chi Club

Jan. 6–Mar. 24, 10:30–11:30am
Coordinators: Russell Stone                          703-323-4428
                             Susanne Zumbro                   703-569-2750
The Tai Chi Club meets almost every Saturday, year ‘round. It is open to all OLLI members.


Tallwood Book Club

Second Wednesdays
Jan. 10, 10:00–11:30
Feb. 14, 1:30–3:00
Mar. 14, 10:00–11:30
Coordinator: Ceda McGrew                           703-323-9671
These are our winter 2018 selections:
January: Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
February: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
March: Norah Webster by Colm Toibin


Theater Lovers’ Club

Generally last Fridays
Jan. 26, Feb. 23, 10:00–11:30
Coordinators: Norma Reck               
                             Nancy Scheeler          
Members of TLG get together to attend plays and other theatrical events performed by the various local groups in the many theaters in the DC Metro area. We invite theatrical persons, such as directors and actors, to speak at a monthly meeting so we can be better informed about all things theater. We partner with other groups, such as Shillelagh Travel Club, for overnight bus trips to attend theater in New York City. Membership, as well as attendance at TLG events, is open to any and all OLLI members and their guests. For more information, email Norma Reck at


The Tom Crooker Investment Forum

Jan. 10–Jan. 17, Feb. 21–Mar. 21, 10:30–12:00
Moderator: Al Smuzynski
For activity description see course F203.


Walking Group

Tallwood/Fairfax Swimming Pool Parking Lot
Coordinator: Jerry Remson
When OLLI is in session, the Walking Group meets one morning each week, generally an hour before the first morning class. We gather in the Fairfax Swimming Pool parking lot next to Tallwood and walk for about 45 minutes, arriving back at Tallwood in time for the start of classes. Because our goal is camaraderie as well as exercise, all levels of walking ability and speed are accommodated. The day of the week is determined by our schedules and the weather, so it may change from week to week. Between terms we continue to walk on a weekly basis, but for longer distances and at more varied locations. Contact Jerry Remson or more information.


What’s in the Daily News?

Jan. 8, Feb. 26–Mar. 19, 10:00–11:30
Facilitators: Dorsey Chescavage
                          Mel Axilbund      
                          Caroline Cochran
This is the between-term continuation of the discussion group for news junkies who can’t wait to express their opinions and discuss current events.