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About OLLI E-News

OLLI E-News was created by Rod Zumbro, who served as its editor from 2005 to 2013. Editorial Staff Chief Editor/Technical Editor: Irene Osterman Associate Editor: Weekly Editorial Team: Paul Van Hemel, Sheri Siesseger, Leslie Vandivere, Proofreaders: John West, Gordon Canyock, Susan Van Hemel Backup Chief Editor: Sheri Siesseger Submissions. Members are encouraged to submit letters to the editor, letters to Ms. Ollie Ettakit (on etiquette matters), OLLI-related news items, articles and photos. Submit material to: Deadline – 6:00 pm Tuesday for that week’s issue (6:00 pm Monday for letters to the editor); early submissions are greatly appreciated. Please limit articles to about 250 words. Note: You can view past issues of OLLI E-News on the DocStore. To search the content of issues, use Search Our Site or put your search term in Google followed by “” without the quotes.

OLLI E-News December 19, 2014
Print a condensed .pdf copy of this newsletter, two web pages per sheet of paper.
OLLI Holiday Party 2014, International Country Club Fairfax, December 5

December 19, 2014

Editor of the Week: Paul Van Hemel
Table of Contents

Alerts & Notices

The next E-News will be January 9.

Please note that the winter catalog includes a new course  F505 Intermediate Spanish Conversation, and a new event  Feb 6, a Lecture on US Attorneys and the Department of Justice. Although registration is now closed, members might want to check availability when registration re-opens after schedules are final.

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Holiday Wishes and Warning

By Jennifer Disano, Executive Director

Here's hoping OLLI members enjoy the holiday season! Although it can be a joyous time, it is also a prime time to be wary of scams by those seeking to take advantage of people in a holiday frame of mind.

One clever credit card scam, for example, builds on a scenario in which a person is called about a holiday "gift" delivery. The delivery turns out to be a basket of flowers and wine, from someone to be identified in a card being sent separately. The delivery person explains that because the gift contains alcohol, there is a small delivery charge as proof that the delivery was received by an adult. The charge must be paid by a credit card, swiped on a small mobile card machine, with a small screen and keypad where you enter the card's PIN and security number. Surprise! The giver's identification is never received, and within a few days several charges/withdrawals are made from the credit/debit account, amounting to thousands of dollars!

The warning, of course, is to be skeptical of any unexpected gift or package that you didn't order, especially if it involves any kind of payment as a condition of receiving the delivery. Also, never accept anything if you do not personally know the sender or there is no proper identification. Above all, the only time you should give out any personal credit/debit card information is when you yourself initiated the purchase or transaction!

Stay aware and keep the joy in the season!

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OLLI Hosts Visit by Rep. Gerald Connolly

By Martha Powers, OLLI Member and
Liaison Committee Chair

Congressman Gerald Connolly (D) visited Tallwood on Monday, December 15, and addressed an OLLI audience in TA-1, which was at full capacity and also teleconferenced to TA-3. Mr. Connolly discussed Social Security, Medicare, and other issues of particular interest to OLLI members. After his presentation, he fielded several questions from the audience – no easy task given the level of knowledge that’s typical of our members. Also present for this event was Dr. S. David Wu, the new Provost at Mason, and other Mason VIPs.

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Program Planning Group Meetings

By Kathryn Russell, Program Committee Co-Chair

Program Planning groups are meeting soon to choose courses for upcoming terms. Here are some wonderful opportunities to learn about and participate in program planning. We invite all OLLI members to attend any (or all!) of these gatherings to learn about and participate in program planning. You’ll definitely enjoy the camaraderie and lively exchange of ideas, and you’ll have the chance to learn how your program is made. These planning groups are meeting soon:
Special Events – Wednesday, January 7, 10:00-11:30 – Tallwood Annex
Loudoun program planning group – Thursday, January 8, 10:30 – Conference room at Mason
Reston program planning group – Tuesday, January 13, 10:00 – Reston Community Center
Science, Technology and Health – Wednesday, January 14, 10:00, Tallwood
Humanities and Social Sciences – Thursday, January 22, 2:00 – Tallwood
Religious Studies – January 30, 10:00, Tallwood
Language, Literature and Theater – Thursday, Feb. 19, 10:00 – Tallwood

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OLLI Photographers Focus on Wounded Warriors and Families

By John Nash, OLLI Member

For the third time in as many years, members of the OLLI Photo Club took holiday portraits of wounded warriors and family members at Fort Belvoir. Lou Mazzatenta, Dan Feighery, Bob Kelberg and John Nash joined forces on Saturday, December 6, to take family portraits at the USO Warrior Family Center for 17 groups consisting of 46 individuals, one Santa, and one dog. 
According to Ashy Palliparambil, USO Hospital Services project coordinator, this is a very special opportunity for these military and family members to have portraits taken. “In those families who were photographed, there was one of our caregivers who has been having a rough time with her husband away. She and her son had their portrait taken, and she left with tears in her eyes for the generosity of the USO and volunteers to create this moment for them.” Ashy also explained that many families with whom Hospital Services work usually are going through a rough time with treatment and recovery as their main focus. “These military members are often too busy to have a holiday portrait taken that can mean so much to other members of their families. I can tell you that each and every family that came through was very grateful for the time everyone put in.”
After the professional-quality portraits were taken, the families were able to choose a favorite picture and have it printed right there. Then members received a flash drive provided by AT&T with a complete set of their pictures.

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Drones in December

By Martha Powers, OLLI Member and
Liaison Committee Chair

On the afternoon of Wednesday, December 10, more than 100 OLLI members assembled at the Church of the Good Shepherd to enjoy a repeat of the popular presentation, “Drones: Our New Toys, Tools and Robot Companions.” Christopher Vo, who has just earned his PhD in engineering at Mason, gave a terrific slide show and fielded numerous questions. Then, Christopher and his associate, Fernando Hernandez, flew various drones for us.

The audience photo below was taken from above by a camera on the drone.

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Remember OLLI This Holiday Season

By Lesley Bubenhofer, Development Committee Chair

Include your friend OLLI on your gift list—your generosity will be appreciated! When you give a gift to OLLI, you are also giving a gift to yourself, to your OLLI colleagues, and to your community.

Thank you and happy holidays to you and your family!

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Photo Club

By Bob Kelberg, Photography Club Program Coordinator

The next meeting of the OLLI Photo Club will be 9:30 Friday, January 9, in TA-1 at Tallwood. The speaker will be Wayne Wolfersberger.

An ecologist-naturalist, educator and nature photographer by professional training and passion, Wayne Wolfersberger has integrated all these to become a well-respected professional nature photographer in the Washington DC area. His photographic expertise was honed while working for a DC area commercial photography firm and the US Navy Photographic Center, and through involvement in numerous professional seminars and workshops.

Wayne has served with many photographic organizations, including the Northern Virginia Photographic Society, of which he was president. Many of his images have appeared in local, national, and international magazines (including multiple images in Nature’s Best).

Wayne teaches a variety of photography classes locally. For 14 years Wayne spent the summers (May to September) in Yellowstone National Park working as a ranger-naturalist for the US National Park Service. He turned in his badge after the 2012 season in order to spend time with his family and new granddaughter when they moved to Maryland after 9 years Down Under.

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Ask Uncle Olli

By Uncle Olli, Driver Safety Consultant 

Uncle Olli has lived in Northern Virginia most of his lifetime, and has encountered every traffic problem. But sometimes the little problems seem so trivial you are embarrassed to admit them. Easy. Ask Uncle Olli at He is embarrassed by nothing!

School buses or emergency vehicles come toward me in the opposite lane. Do I always need to pull over and stop?

The only time you do not need to stop is when the road is divided. If there is a grass median, or a physical barrier dividing the road, then you do not need to stop.  I would slow down, though. The vehicle may want to turn in front of you.

An emergency vehicle is gaining on me with his lights flashing, and cars are on my right. There's no room to pull over!

The objective is to clear a lane for the emergency vehicle. You may need to go left or right to do this. Do whatever you can to clear a lane for the vehicle, even if you go into the left lane. Avoid pulling into or blocking an intersection: the vehicle may need to make a turn.

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Photo of the Month

The December Photo of the Month theme was “Nature.” We selected Dave Gundry's photo “Begging Reindeer,” which may be viewed in various sizes at this page. To view other photos by members of the Photography Club, visit the Club's website.

-- By Dan Feighery, Photography Club Coordinator

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Poet's Corner
Courtesy of the Poetry Workshop

Where Do the Birds Go in the Cold?
Jack Underhill
Little birds with no cloth of fur or scarf
Or coffee cup to warm their blood
Circle around the feeder
And cheep cheerfully at 15 degrees.
The squirrels have their fluffy fur
And long tails for blankets
And snuggle together in nests made of leaves.
The small rabbits and mice
Burrow down into
Their warm and friendly earth womb
Protected from the frigid blast of winter.
But where do the small birds go
When the mercury drops below freezing?
Their only garment is optimism and feathers
Fluffed to catch pockets of air
To keep out the crushing cold
And no ground burrows in which to hide.
Perhaps the hand of God surrounds them
With loving warmth.
Whoever serves The Least of us serves Him too.

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Obituary – Dagmar Lending

Dagmar Lending, OLLI member since September 1997, passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, December 2, 2014. A memorial service for Dagmar was held on Saturday, December 6, 2014 at the Little River United Church of Christ in Annandale, Virginia.
Dagmar’s obituary from the Washington Post may be accessed at this link.

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Arts & Music at George Mason

Performances, Dec 19 through Jan 11

By Shelly Gersten, OLLI E-News Staff Writer

For tickets for either CFA or Hylton, call 1-888-945-2468, buy tickets online through the event calendar (see links below), or visit the venue's box office. For more information see the CFA ticket page or the Hylton ticket purchase page.
At the Fairfax Campus Venues

Vienna Boys Choir: Christmas in Vienna
Sat, Dec 20, 8:00
Sun, Dec 21, 4:00
Pre-Performance Discussion: David Srebnik; Director - SiriusXM Satellite Radio
Concert Hall
Admission: $50, $43, $30.
United States Marine Band Concert
Sun, Jan 11, 2:00
Concert Hall
Admission: Free

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Mason Student & Faculty Performances
(see for additional student recitals)

Winter Break

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At the Hylton Center

Altered Terrain Today
Rosemary Luckett, artist
Nov 16 - Feb 1
The Buchanan Partners Art Gallery is open to the public Tue-Sat, 10:00 - 6:00, Thur., 10:00 - 8:00 and two hours before performances. For more information about the current exhibit, visit For reception RSVP to
Admission: Free
Manassas Ballet Theatre: Nutcracker
Fri, Dec 19, and Sat, Dec 20, 7:30
Sat, Dec 20, - Tues Dec 23, 3:00
Merchant Hall
Admission: $55, $45, $35.
Funny People
Fri, Jan 2, 8:00
Eight stand up comedians
Gregory Family Theater
Admission: $20.00.

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For further details on any of the above events, please see the CFA event calendar and the Hylton Center event calendar

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Meetings & Clubs

The following list covering the next three weeks is extracted for your convenience from the master online calendar maintained by the office, with direct web links added when available. The list is accurate as of mid-week but to check anytime for the latest information, please view the latest forecast of upcoming events on our website (News/OLLI Calendar). Note: All OLLI members are welcome at, and encouraged to attend, meetings of the Board of Directors, committees and resource groups, Kickoff Coffees, etc. (bolded below).
Sat Dec 20 10:30am Tai Chi Club–TA-3
Sat Jan 3 10:30am Tai Chi Club–TA-3
Mon Jan 5 10:00am
Liaison Committee Meeting–Annex
What’s in the Daily News, cont’d–TA-1
Tue Jan 6  9:30am
Cottage Art–Cottage
Knitting and Needlework Club–Panera, Herndon
Wed Jan 7 10:00am
Bridge Club–TA-3
Mah Jongg–TA-2
Special Events Committee–Annex
Tom Crooker Investment Forum–TA-1
Thu Jan 8 10:00am
Liaison Committee Meeting–Annex
Loudoun Program Planning Group
Fri Jan 9  9:00am
Recorder Consort–TA-3
Photography Club–TA-1
Craft and Conversation–Cottage
Homer, etc–Annex

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