FALL FANCIES FOR YOU!

Blog Photo Fall Fancies
Sandi Page

By Sandi Page, FAU LLI Jupiter Marketing Committee member

 

Well, hello there!  Welcome back!  We hope you’ve had an interesting and relaxing summer and are ready to come back to school.  We’ve got a cornucopia of lectures and courses to entice you so read on to discover some of them.  What is your fancy this fall?

Some Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at FAU Jupiter Fall 2017 Lectures

Robert P. Watson, Ph.D.
Hamilton: Man, Myth, Musical
Thursday, October 19, 2017, 7:00-8:30 p.m.

There appear to be only two types of people – Those who have spent a lot of money on tickets to see Hamilton and those who are still trying to get tickets! Happily, I am in the former category. Although I nearly had to mortgage my house to buy tickets for my family, it was worth it. In the lecture on the life and influence of the extraordinary Founding Father, I will devote some time to the hit Broadway musical – fact-checking it, explaining the lyrics and scenes, and perhaps even rapping a few lines!

Mark Tomass, Ph.D.
Assessing the War on Terror – Western and Middle Eastern Perspectives
Tuesday, October 24, 2017, 9:30-11:00 a.m.

After summarizing the rationale for US policy makers’ reaction to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and outlining scholarly assessments of that policy’s efficacy on its 15th year anniversary, my October 24 lecture will present my understanding of the reasons for the proliferation of terrorist activities in the Middle East and in the West and suggest short and long-term means to defeat the groups perpetrating them. Based on my life experience as a Syrian native, I urge policy makers not to focus on the actions of terrorists, but on the prevailing ideology behind these actions – the religious basis of terror. The fundamental parallels between the terrorist groups’ deadly campaigns are embedded within their religious dogmas and cultural identity. Contrary to what is commonly claimed by sympathizers with those groups, that the terror groups emerged as a reaction to the US invasion of Iraq, I show that their victims are, first and foremost, women, non-Muslim natives of the Middle East, and fellow Muslims whom they demonize and spill their blood on the charge of apostasy. I will present contemporary and historical evidence to show that the expansion of al-Qaida and its daughter ISIS was not born in a vacuum; it only boldly enforced widely accepted beliefs in the Arab and Muslim world.

Mark C. Schug, Ph.D.
The Economy of President Trump One Year after the Election –
Economists Analyze the Ups and Downs of President Trump’s First Year
Thursday, November 2, 2017, 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Remember January 2017?  It looked like the economy was finally going to emerge from the doldrums.  The stock market was booming.  Expectations were high that health care would be changed, infrastructure spending would soar, regulatory burdens would be eased, taxes would be reformed, the wall would be started, and NAFTA would be abandoned. Fast forward to the fall of 2017 and things look different.  While some regulatory changes have been made, the health care debate delayed action on most other economic changes.  And, of course, the breathless media reporting on President Trump and Russia, including the appointment of a special counsel, have distracted people from the economic policy changes that have taken place.

Will President Trump finally get his feet under him and begin to move his reform agenda through Congress?  Will he give up the tweets to concentrate on governing? And, just as important, will his economic reforms help or hurt the American economy?

Want to get all the latest economic analysis on President Trump’s economic policy?  Then come and see our all-star, FAU panel of economists on Thursday, November 2, beginning at 4:30 p.m.  The latest economic policies and controversies will be the focus of the panelists.

Myrna Goldberger
Origin and Early Rise of the Department Store
Saturday, November 4, 2017, 1:00-2:30 p.m.

Department Store Tycoons
Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017, 1:00-2:30 p.m.

This summer, I have been busy preparing for the upcoming season and thinking of ideas that are gender friendly, age friendly and, for a change of emotions, non-controversial.  It all began when I researched the advent of the credit card and, in thinking about where it is used, my community informal survey suggested restaurants and malls. Anyone who knows me knows I am not a “foodie” so that left the rest of the shopping world. I have learned that the founder of Macy’s was part of the whaling community in Nantucket. I have learned that the Gimbel stores were born because the patriarch had seven sons and needed a way to feed all of them. I have learned that Alfred Bloomingdale had a shrewd, calculating mistress and I have learned that Nordstrom’s birth place was 60 miles from the Arctic Circle. Finally, what clinched my interest was the discovery that department stores sprouted up because of a single invention. Without it, we may never have had any of the stores we can so easily name. I challenge you to supply the name of the invention! E-mail me at mgoldbe699@aol.com. Let’s see how many correct responses I receive. For those of you who make the effort, I will grade A+ for the course. You all will receive an A just for showing up and hearing the saga of America’s favorite pastime.

Robert P. Watson, Ph.D.
The Ghost Ship of Brooklyn
Monday, November 13, 2017, 3:00-4:30 p.m.; Book-signing: 4:30-5:30 p.m.

It took me several days, but when I found Captain Thomas Dring’s two century-old diary and read the ghastly details recorded by the author, I could hardly contain my excitement. And shock. But the most intriguing entries in the old manuscript were not those chronicling an unknown and unspeakable chapter in American history, but a list of names and details about a few other sailors who managed to escape the dreaded “ghost ship.” My hope was that they too lived to tell their tales, that they recorded their adventures, and that their words, though long forgotten, had also survived history.  They did! One of them was a young boy named Christopher Hawkins…

Ralph Nurnberger, Ph.D.
The Dutch Golden Age, Tulip Mania and the Jews of Amsterdam
Thursday, November 16, 2017, 7:00-8:30 p.m.

As the wealthiest city in Europe in the 17th century, Amsterdam transformed itself into a thriving center for great artists, scientists, writers, and scholars, as well as a hub of banking and finance. Once the city rid itself of Spanish rule and set up a society based on capitalism and world trade, it also became a metropolis that was philosophically enlightened and religiously tolerant.
It encouraged art (Rembrandt and others); philosophy (Descartes); religion (Spinoza); science (Leeuwenhoek); new universities; publishing (Hobbes and Locke could not publish in England, so they published in Amsterdam); and the beginnings of international law (Grotius); and the first stock markets.
This presentation explores the many facets of this 17th-century hub, including “Tulip Mania”, when Dutch investors were willing to pay the equivalent of $100,000 for one tulip bulb in the hope that the price would continue to increase. This became the basis for capitalism’s first “bubble.”
Finally, there will be a discussion of how the city’s religious tolerance enabled Dutch Jews to practice their religion openly, thus setting the stage for Judaism to develop from a medieval to a modern religion. This enhanced the ability of all citizens of Amsterdam, including Jews, to engage in trade in Europe and the New World.

Casey Klofstad, Ph.D.
How Biology and Society Influence Our Politics
Monday, November 20, 2017, 2:30-4:00 p.m.

Why are some societies free while others are not? Why are some societies paralyzed by violence while others are peaceful? Why is the gap between the rich and the poor astronomical in some societies, but less so in others? The answers to these fundamental questions are tied
directly to how we select our leaders. In this lecture, we will examine the influence of human voice pitch, a biologically determined characteristic, on this selection process. While we commonly think of voting in terms of partisanship, the state of the economy, and foreign
relations, research shows that voters are also influenced by the tone of candidate’s voices.

Stephen Engle, Ph.D.
Andrew Jackson and the Rise of the Democratic Party
Monday, December 4, 2017, 2:30-4:00 p.m.

Legend has it that Americans who brought Jackson to power were tobacco spitters, drunkards, gamblers, and just plain vulgar. Yet, Jackson’s emergence on the presidential stage coincided with the emergence of an American middle class that cultivated respectability and indulged in material goods. Despite social and cultural disparities, the Jacksonian voter was a force to be reckoned with at the polls, like him or not. Universally known as Old Hickory, Andrew Jackson’s popularity and election was the product of electoral changes and voter mobilization that transformed American politics. Once in power, Jackson defied established procedures, ignored congressional opinion, and contended with the national bank. Yet, his aggressive leadership style set off shock waves that brought together his opponents, who ultimately toppled the Democrats. For all the talk about the Jacksonian Presidency being the triumph of the common man, scholars still debate the merits of his achievements in helping the Democrats who put him in office. The two-party system as we know it today was beautifully balanced by the end of his second term, but the rank-and-file Democrat, the primary spokesman of his revolution, appeared to benefit the least from his presidency.

Matt Klauza, Ph.D.
Truman Capote: The Making and Breaking of a Celebrity
Wednesday, December 6, 2017, 3:00-4:30 p.m.

 In my literature studies, I wasn’t introduced to Truman Capote until late in the game.  However, when I did finally read him, I fell in love with his writing style.  The famous author Norman Mailer called him the greatest writer of his generation, and I had to agree.  There was a certain rhythm in his writing that made it simultaneously easy to read and profoundly emotional.  From his short stories like “Miriam” and “A Christmas Memory” to his novels In Cold Blood and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, I loved the way he captured characters and moments in his plots with such precision.  But even then, I studied his work in a vacuum, without any biographical context; it wasn’t until several years later that I began to learn about his complicated, high-profile, and tragic life.  And from that point forward, given how much of his own emotions shape his work, he has been so easy and fun to teach through a biographical lens.

Ronald Feinman, Ph.D.
The Impact of Chief Justice Earl Warren on The Supreme Court
Thursday, December 7, 2017, 9:00-10:30 a.m.; Book-signing: 10:30-11:30 a.m.

  • Chief Justice Earl Warren is regarded by most scholars as the second greatest Chief Justice in American history, just behind Chief Justice John Marshall (1801-1835).
  • Earl Warren is regarded as one of the top Governors in California history (1943-1953).
  • Earl Warren was the Vice Presidential running mate of Republican Thomas E. Dewey in 1948, an election Dewey was supposed to win easily over President Harry Truman, who staged a shocking upset victory.
  • Earl Warren united the Supreme Court with his personality, and was able to bring about a unanimous Supreme Court decision in the most significant and path-breaking Supreme Court decision of the 20th century, the school integration case of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka in May 1954.
  • Earl Warren became the leading advocate of civil rights and civil liberties on the Supreme Court, after having earlier, in 1942, as California Attorney General, promoted the internment of Japanese Americans after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, an action he later apologized for as ethically and morally wrong.
  • Earl Warren headed the Warren Commission which investigated the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in November 1963, and came out with an extensive report in September 1964. Future President Gerald Ford, a Michigan Congressman, was a member of that committee.

Mark C. Schug, Ph.D.
Why is Israel an Economic Success?
An Economic Analysis of Israel and Some of Its Neighbors Including Egypt
Monday, December 11, 2017, 9:30-11:00 a.m.

Last fall, my wife and I visited Israel for the first time.  We had wanted to go for a long time but we really didn’t know what to expect.  As we toured the country, about the size of New Jersey, several points jumped out at us:

  • Haifa, the busy port, signaled strong international connections.  Cut diamonds, high-technology equipment, and pharmaceuticals are among Israel’s leading exports. Its major imports include crude oil, grains, raw materials, and military equipment.
  • We saw some surprising agricultural developments.  Who knew about the advanced irrigation systems for growing dates in the desert?
  • Jerusalem was calm, safe, and filled with tourists from all over the world. It also has a growing reputation for attracting high tech companies bringing thousands of new jobs.
  • Tel Aviv is a leading financial center and is a hub of business and scientific research.

This is not the way things started out.  In 1948, the Israeli economy was dominated by strong socialist policies.   Clearly, Israel has abandoned much of its socialist past and replaced it with a technologically advanced free market economy.

Our visit inspired me to put together a lecture to help explain why Israel is an economic success story.  This is especially remarkable when you consider its less well-developed resource-rich neighbors.  My lecture will trace the development of the Israeli economy from 1948 to today.

 

Some Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at FAU Jupiter Fall 2017 Courses

Stephen Kowel, Ph.D.
Electrified! Electricity is Fascinating and Scary; Essential and Mysterious
Mondays, October 16, 23, 30, November 6, 2017, 12-1:30 p.m.

Electrified! Two Anecdotes

Electricity has transformed our energy, commerce, and communication systems. But it promises even more profound impacts in the near future. Artificial intelligence is the computing frontier. Science recently described an extensive study in which computers capable of teaching themselves can perform even better than standard medical guidelines, significantly increasing prediction rates of cardiovascular disease while lowering false alarms. This certainly is ‘heartening’ news.

Florida is the lightning capital of the US. That’s scary enough.
But Facebook’s plan is to build non-implanted devices to read thoughts. And to tamp down on the inevitable fear this research will inspire, Facebook claims “This isn’t about decoding random thoughts. This is about decoding the words you’ve already decided to share by sending them to the speech center of your brain.” Sounds simple enough. How reassuring!

Lynn Hankes, M.D., FASAM
Addiction
Mondays, October 16, 23, 30; November 6, 2017, 2:30-4:00 p.m.

The opioid crisis is in your own back yard! In the first six months of this year, fentanyl and heroin have killed 2,664 people in Florida! In Palm Beach County alone, fatal overdoses spiked to 311 in the first five months of this year!! What has provoked this current crisis?

You may want to know the answers to these questions:

What is addiction? What causes it? Nature or nurture? How does it impact the family? How can the family help? Do interventions work? Is treatment effective?  Is an addict and an alcoholic the same? Why can’t they “just say no” and stay stopped? What does treatment entail? Are the 12-step programs necessary?

I will provide a comprehensive review of addiction, review its underlying science, and discuss family dynamics, treatment, and the mutual-help groups.

Kurt F. Stone, D.D.
Making Heroes Out of Humans…and Humans Out of Heroes
Mondays, October 16, 23, 30; November 6, 13, 20, 27; December 4, 2017, 7:00-9:00 p.m.
(Full 8 weeks or Last 4 weeks option available)

Looking back on the Great Depression from his billet in Uijeongbu, South Korea, M*A*S*H surgeon Hawkeye Pierce took comfort in a bit of jocular nostalgia:
❖ That FDR was always the President of the United States;
❖ That Fiorello La Guardia was always Mayor of New York;
❖ That Joe Louis was always Heavyweight Champ;
❖ That Joseph McCarthy’s Yankees were always in the World Series, and
❖ That Paul Muni played everyone.
The first four are unquestionably true; the latter, pretty darn close.  For during Hollywood’s Golden Age, most of the era’s great bioflicks starred either the incomparable Yiddish actor Paul Muni (The Story of Louis Pasteur, The Life of Emile Zola, Juárez) or the now lamentably forgotten English thespian George Arliss (Disraeli, Alexander Hamilton, Voltaire, The House of Rothschild).  The biggest difference between the two is that Muni “disappeared” into whatever character he portrayed as to be unrecognizable, while all of Arliss’s characters looked exactly alike except for details of costume. Indeed, all of Arliss’s characters were crafty but benevolent old gentlemen who spent most of their time uniting unhappy young lovers.
While one can see a Paul Muni bioflick at least once a month on cable, the only place you’ll be able to view the Academy-Award winning George Arliss is at Lifelong Learning Jupiter this fall.

Wesley Borucki, Ph.D.
Doors Swinging Open – Women and Their Significant Roles in the Civil War
Tuesdays, October 31; November 7, 14, 21, 2017, 9:30-11:00 a.m.

In late 1863, the 52nd Ohio Infantry regiment was located near Chattanooga, Tennessee, when Dr. Mary Edwards Walker arrived there as a volunteer surgeon, sent by General George H. Thomas, Union commander of the Cumberland. Those to whom her services were offered were outraged. The director of General Thomas’ medical staff, a Dr. Perin, considered the idea of a female surgeon a “medical monstrosity,” and called for a review by an army medical board of Walker’s qualifications. The board itself doubted “whether she has pursued the study of medicine” and concluded that her medical knowledge in areas other than obstetrics was “not much greater than most housewives.” According to regimental historian Rev. Nixon B. Stewart, the men of the 52nd Ohio not only worried about the new doctor’s skills, but also suspected that her frequent excursions from camp to care for nearby residents might be a cover for her activities as a spy.  She was captured by a Confederate sentry in April 1864 on one such excursion. She was held for four months as a prisoner of war until she was exchanged for one male Confederate surgeon.  In January 1866, she was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, presented to her by President Andrew Johnson, becoming the first woman so honored.  Even if not all women received medals during the Civil War, many were heroines, and we shall explore their service on and behind the front lines.

Irving Labovitz, J.D.
OBJECTION! Current, Contentious and Confusing Legal Battles
Tuesdays, October 10, 17, 24, 31; November 7, 14, 21, 28, 2017, 12-1:30 p.m.
(Full 8 weeks or Last 4 weeks option available)

QUERY: How does one describe an LLS course without any set format; having no announced topical lecture presentations; avoiding usual Q and A colloquies; and encouraging student interjections and dialogue throughout each lecture?

Chaotic? Disruptive? Unstructured?  Or possibly a mutually enervating learning experience between teacher and motivated students seeking to understand highly contentious legal issues directly affecting their lives, that of their families, and perhaps the very future of our Democracy?

Let me attempt to answer this multifaceted conundrum by posing a further series of questions, all of which consider the impact of our Constitution, implicated statutes, judicial precedents, and a labyrinth of agency regulations, upon the following illustrative issues.

  • Is it legally possible for the President of the United States to even colorably be accused of ‘treason’?
  • When, if at all, is a ’thing of value’received by a high U.S. government official considered to be a forbidden ‘emolument’?
  • Will an anxious, gentle Syrian grandmother seeking to visit her daughter and family in Jupiter this week enjoy entry into the United States under the existing travel constraints issued by Presidential Executive Order?
  • Is the fabled ‘Shangri-La’ the only true ‘sanctuary city’, or do we have lawful clones here at home?
  • What’s the legal difference between ‘collusion’ and ‘conspiracy’ by those threatened with having violated U.S. law?
  • Did the Russian government seeking gifts unlawfully “go to Jared”?
  • Does Special Counsel Robert Mueller have ‘job security’?

Just a few of the subjects to be addressed this fall in my class. I welcome those daring to question, to disagree, and even to teach fellow students and me, as well as learn.

Terryl Lawrence, Ed.D.
Art in the U.S.A.
Fridays, October 13, 20, 27; November 3, 17; December 1, 8, 15 (No class on Nov. 10, 24, 2017),
11:15 a.m.-12:45 p.m. (Full 8 weeks or Last 4 weeks option available)

Generally speaking, most first courses in Art History center around the achievements of European Art. Our American artistic heritage is rarely discussed. In my Senior year at college, I enrolled in an “American Art” class that I found eye-opening, inspirational, and fascinating. After that, I began traveling around the United States visiting sites and museums to learn about the arts of each region. It became clear that American Art involved earlier artists’ struggles to join the mainstream of creativity and to establish a legitimate art to speak to the pioneering spirit found here.
After its auspicious beginnings, American Art branched out into glorious landscape paintings, theatrical and dance performances, unique architecture, gallery and museum exhibitions, recognition of individual achievers, and historical and momentous images in keeping with the times in which they were created.
Artists are the visual historians of their time. In my lectures, I will tell of the many aspects of inspiration and revolt that have occurred since the Pilgrims arrived in Massachusetts and how and why the United States became a most important center for the world of art. Our heritage is rich, diverse, and full of stories and pleasure.

Benito Rakower, Ed.D.
Film Masterpieces – Eight of the Most Ambitious American and European Films
Fridays, October 13, 20, 27; November 3, 17; December 1, 8, 15 (No class on Nov. 10, 24, 2017),
1:30-4:00 p.m.; Film discussion: 4:00-4:30 p.m. (Full 8 weeks or Last 4 weeks option available)

Each of these films has a woman character that determines a man’s destiny.   In Red River, a young pioneer woman pleads with John Wayne to take her with him on his journey west to make a new home in the wilderness.   She lists all the things a woman brings to a man’s life that sustains and enriches it.   Obdurate and cautious, John Wayne refuses and leaves her behind with the wagon train.  She is killed in an attack, and the John Wayne character is changed forever by the loss.

Years later, an older and wiser man, John Wayne is on the verge of losing all he has worked to achieve, through another act of obduracy.   This time, however, another young woman brings him to his senses.

Seeing the film when I was twelve years old, that situation had a powerful effect on my imagination.  I decided never to get into a test of will with the superior wisdom of a resolute woman.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

The ISIS Caliphate Will Be Eradicated, But What Will Follow?

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Mark Tomass, Ph.D.

By Mark Tomass, Ph.D.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By God, we will eradicate it” were the last words uttered by a captured Syrian soldier seconds before an ISIS Holy Warrior sprayed him with a hail of bullets; it was the soldier’s determined response to the latter commanding him to say “The Islamic State is staying.”[1] This brief exchange between the two was made public on August 25, 2014, while the ISIS hordes were expanding their hold on territories in the Mesopotamian regions of Syria and Iraq. They released an execution video of two soldiers on their knees with their hands tied behind their backs as part of their strategy to demoralize the Syrian Army, but they didn’t pay attention to what the soldier had said. The two executed conscripts were Yahya Shughari, a Sunni Muslim from Lattakia and Tareq Shammas, a Greek Orthodox from the Valley of the Christians. It was Yahya (Arabic for John) who vowed that ISIS would be eradicated after seeing his comrade shot. Despite the Syrian Army’s retreat on multiple fronts, the video had the opposite effect to what ISIS intended. Instead, the fallen soldiers became a symbol of the resistance to the Salafi-Wahhabi onslaught by the multi-religious, multi-sectarian, and multi-ethnic inhabitants of Syria and Iraq.

The Trump administration’s resolve to cooperate with anti-ISIS forces, including Russia, has produced effective results on the ground. As of today, the ISIS Caliphate is on its way to being eradicated as it loses control of real estate and territories. However, its underground networks, its value system, and the states promoting it will continue to produce similar groups under different appellations.

Indeed, on June 9, 2017, President Trump addressed the world by stating “The nation of Qatar unfortunately has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level… We have to stop the funding of terrorism, stop teaching people to kill other people, stop teaching hate and intolerance. I won’t name other countries [i.e. Saudi Arabia and Turkey], but we are not done solving the problem, but we will solve that problem.”[2]

However, short-term financial expediency has again taken precedence over long-term security concerns. In return for hundreds of billions of dollars of arms sales,[3] both the terror-producing Saudi-Wahhabi alliance and Qatar were forgiven and it was back to business as usual with them. As the previous administration’s alchemists promised us that their magic would turn the religious fundamentalists of the Middle East into Jeffersonian freedom fighters, our new administration’s alchemists promise to provide enhanced security by selling the two terror-sponsoring states more weapons.

Granted, those sales of weapons generate jobs to American labor and profits to the military industries employing them, which in turn get recycled back into the U.S. economy. Yet, those sales do not have to be of weapons. The Gulf States are not purchasing U.S. weapons voluntarily. They are doing so in return for U.S. protection of their regimes, as witnessed in Qatar. After President Trump’s aforementioned June 9th speech, Qatar swiftly sent its defense minister to the United States where he signed a $12 billion weapons purchase on June 14th.[4]

But, ironically, why should we be dependent on weapons sales to promote security or employment? Instead of selling weapons, couldn’t we exchange our protection services for university education, medicine, automobiles, software, and many other non-lethal technologies that will push those societies to recover from the medieval mentality in which they are trapped?

Too much blood has been spilled in the Middle East under false pretenses. It is time to start tackling the root causes of religiously inspired violence. Weaponizing Islam must stop. Religiously inspired intra-Muslim hate and inter-religious hate can be eradicated by education, not by more weapons sales. In remembrance of Yahya: “By God, we will eradicate it.”

 

[1] https://www.liveleak.com/view?i=816_1409008754

[2] http://www.nbcnews.com/video/trump-the-time-has-come-to-confront-qatar-s-terror-ties-964053571661

[3] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-saudi-arabia-arms-deal-sale-arab-nato-gulf-states-a7741836.html

[4] https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-qatar-move-toward-arms-deal-estimated-at-12-billion-1497484240

 

Mark Tomass, Ph.D., will teach a one-time lecture, “Assessing the War on Terror: Western and Middle Eastern Perspectives,” on Tuesday, October 24, 2017, at 9:30 a.m. To register, click here.

Recent Books:
The Religious Roots of the Syrian Conflict: The Remaking of the Fertile Crescent (2016)
https://tinyurl.com/Religious-Roots-of-Syrian-Conf

A link to the complete text of: Assessing the War on Terror (2017) with Charles Webel
https://tinyurl.com/Assessing-the-War-on-Terror

Posted in Uncategorized

THE CRITIC’S CORNER

Typewriter

Sandi Page

By Sandi Page, LLS Jupiter Marketing Committee Member

 

Our FAU LLS Jupiter Lifelong Exchange Blog will be closed for the months of June and July for the summer break.  We will start posting again the first week of August.  As this is the last post for two months, I wanted it to be an extra-special gift to all our readers:  a list comprised of reviews from some of our LLS Jupiter family about books, films or music that they love and hope that you will enjoy, too.

But, first, I would like to express my deep appreciation to the LLS students, staff and professors who so kindly answer my calls for contributions to my group blog posts.  I know I have thanked you privately but I would like to publicly express my gratitude for the time and effort you put into sending me such exquisitely written pieces to include in my posts.  Your generosity in sharing your stories……oh, your stories!……..touch me more than you can know for, as they say, in the end, all we really have are our stories.  I have discovered such remarkable writing talent amongst all of you and such rich life experiences and to be able to share that with our blog readers brings me such joy.
Kami Barrett-Batchelder also wants to thank the LLS professors and staff who answer her requests for individual blog posts by sending such informative and timely articles. We are both grateful to all of you for helping to enrich our lives and our readers’ lives.
We have all come to know each other so well through these posts and our LLS community is the better for it.
And you, dear readers!  Where would we, and this blog be, without your interest?  Thank you for reading, thank you for commenting, whether on the blog itself, or in emails to us.  Your encouragement and appreciation give us even more energy and desire to make the LLS Jupiter Lifelong Exchange blog the best blog it can be to serve our LLS community.
Once again, a heartfelt thank you to all of you.

Now, read on to discover our Critic’s Corner choices of books, documentaries, and music for your summer vacation!  See you in August!

LITERATURE

Dr. Robert Watson, LLS Instructor
Animal Farm, by George Orwell

 I recently reread George Orwell’s classic book Animal Farm. I suspect we all read it in high school and/or college, as it used to be required reading. Because, as a professor, I am always around college students, I know that many schools fail to require students to read the classics. It is always dismaying, for instance, to mention one of the “great books” during a lecture and look out at all the blank faces. When this happens, I always ask for a show of hands of who has read the book. Fewer and fewer hands are raised these days.

But, happily, my daughter came home from school a few days ago with a paperback copy of Animal Farm, telling me that her 7th grade class was reading it. Her brother had read it a few years ago when he was in middle school and had both thoroughly enjoyed it and “got the message.” One of the things we do in the Watson house is that, when the kids come home with an assigned book, either my wife or I read the book with them. We have done this with them since kindergarten and have not only found that it can be an important bonding opportunity and a way for our kids to ask deeper questions about the book, but also it has demonstrated to our son and daughter that reading matters. I think this has helped nurture in them a passion for the written word.

Case in point: I was pleased to discover a few years ago that my son’s English teacher allowed the students to select a few books to read as part of the class assignment. I was even more pleased when my son selected Moby Dick, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Lord of the Flies. In the intervening years, his English teachers have repeated the policy of allowing students to pick their readings and, to my delight, he has brought home such wonderful works as 1984Night, The Great Gatsby, Death of a Salesman, and others.

Our “policy” of reading along with the kids has allowed me to rediscover these timeless classics through my children. To that end, I am encouraging all of you to read Animal Farm or another one of the classics with your grandchildren this summer. One young person at a time, we all can help to keep these classics in the forefront of our children’s and grandchildren’s education. Plus, it is a very short book — an afternoon read, ideal for those lazy days of summer (my guess is that it must be one of the shortest of the great books). It is a great way to spend time with them and it never hurts to revisit some of the classics from time to time.

This is certainly the case with Animal Farm, which is chock full of lessons on the dangers of the corrupting ability of political power, the flaws of communism and capitalism, the power of propaganda to subdue and dupe the masses, and, of course, human nature. The book was written at the close of the Second World War and has the added benefit of providing readers today with a history lesson.

We all remember that it is a story about the animals of Manor Farm who succeed in rising up against their drunk, oppressive farmer (Jones). The animals create their “Seven Commandments” and promote equality among all farm animals, reminding one another that they are all equal and that two-legged creatures are their enemies. The various types of animals (just as in Pink Floyd’s classic album of the same title) – pigs, dogs, sheep, horses – all have a role to play on the farm and represent such figures as Marx, Lenin, Stalin, and so on. Orwell writes in such a way that even middle school children can easily pick up on the symbolism and meaning of the tragic events in the book.

Of course, the worker’s revolution goes terribly wrong and the pigs end up behaving just like human dictators. Through propaganda, however, they continue to justify their growing oppressive tendencies and keep the animals dumb and content. The pigs become that which they despised and even end up walking on – gasp! – two legs. Orwell famously ends the book with the adage that “all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

Sadly, amid all the oppressive autocratic and totalitarian dictatorships around the world and the recent resurgence of xenophobia, jingoism, and nativism here at home, the book remains relevant. But let me end this review on a lighter note… As I write this essay, just last night I found my son standing upstairs in our family library looking at the books. He asked me if it was alright if he borrowed two more of my books for the summer. He was holding Kurt Vonnegut’s Galapagos and Carl Sagan’s Cosmos. I am still grinning!

 

Dr. Matt Klauza, LLS Instructor
The Periodic Table, by Primo Levi;
The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood

In 2004, a friend of mine bought me a copy of Primo Levi’s The Periodic Table (1975).  It was a gift for helping her design the curriculum for a course in Holocaust literature.  I had read some of Levi’s work before; for some time, I had taught his Survival in Auschwitz (originally published in Italian as Se questo è un uomo, or If This Is a Man).  However, I had never read The Periodic Table.  When I did, I couldn’t put it down.  This book is a series of 21 autobiographical short stories by Levi, a Jewish chemist from Turin, Italy, who was imprisoned in Auschwitz and was spared his life because of his expertise in his profession.  Each story in the book is named after a different element (hydrogen, zinc, iron); furthermore, in his own beautiful way, Levi incorporates the nature of each element into each respective story.  This structure is only part of his brilliance.  Each of the stories serves as a window into the magnificent mind of Levi himself.

One of my all-time favorite books is Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (1985).  Set in a future United States, the novel immerses the reader into the life of a woman named Offred.  Due to radiation from an on-going war—among other things—very few men and women can conceive, so women who can do so are forced to become “handmaids,” women who serve as surrogate partners for high-powered leaders in hopes they can produce babies for these leaders’ wives.  As handmaid Offred’s own compelling story unfolds, in the background we learn much about the new government, the means it uses to control its people, and the methods it employed to turn the U.S. as we know it now into a patriarchal, totalitarian state.  I first read this novel in college in 1997, I read it again in 2002, and I just finished rereading it this week.  With each re-reading, the book has become increasingly relevant about the role of government, women’s rights, and the passivity of the average citizen.  But politics is only the backdrop. The real story reads like a gorgeous conversation with Offred and an insight into her mind in troublesome times.

 

Dr. Kurt F. Stone, LLS Instructor
The Job, by Sinclair Lewis (1917)

It’s a shame that Sinclair Lewis (1885-1951), the first American to win the Nobel Prize for literature, isn’t read much anymore.  Although neither a world-class stylist like Fitzgerald nor as powerfully unique as Faulkner, Lewis was something more: an American storyteller who created humorous, acid-tipped satire sans sentimentality.

Lewis’ first mature novel, The Job, is the story of Una Golden, a strong-willed young woman forced by circumstance to succeed in a male-dominated world. “Goldie” dedicates herself to standing on her own two feet while balancing romance and marriage. Day in, day out, “Goldie” brings home “…the palsying weariness of the day’s drudgery” until she finally succeeds . . . sort of.

The Job is likely the first feminist novel. That it was written by a man says a lot about Sinclair Lewis. Read it and see why Lewis became America’s first Nobel Laureate.

 

Dr. Ronald Feinman, LLS Instructor
The book to read this summer is David J. Garrow’s Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama (Harper Collins, 2017) —1084 pages of text, 272 pages of Notes, 35 pages of Bibliography, 68-page Index.

It covers the life of Barack Obama, the 44th President, from his upbringing as a young black man attending an almost all-white elite private school in Honolulu, Hawaii, while being raised almost exclusively by his white grandparents; then, on to his college years in California and New York; then, his time as a community organizer, working in some of the roughest neighborhoods of Chicago; to his years at the top of his Harvard Law School class; and then, his return to Chicago, and his entrance into the rough and tumble of Chicago politics; and on to the U.S. Senate, becoming a national political figure and doing the impossible—becoming the first African American political figure to be elected President.

Obama’s years in the U.S. Senate from 2005-2008 are covered, and his dramatic speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004, when Obama was only a state Senator from Illinois, running for the U.S. Senate, and suddenly becoming a national figure.  Obama’s family life and personal relationships are also examined.

This massive biography should be a Pulitzer Prize winner for Biography, which Garrow has already won for his study of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

 

Richard René Silvin, LLS Instructor
American Empress: The Life and Times of Marjorie Merriweather Post, by Nancy Rubin (1995)

American Empress begins with Mrs. Post’s health-conscious father, C.W. Post (1854-1914) creating an alternative to coffee in the late 1890s. He named the drink Postum and, once his idea became commonly accepted, he invented the breakfast cereal Grape Nuts.

Marjorie (1887-1973) was the apple of his eye and, as a child, learned every aspect of the business. Upon her father’s death, she managed to gain control of the Post Cereal Company, but given the times, she was unable to hold a senior executive position in the company she then owned.

Years later, Mrs. Post understood the importance of frozen foods when, quite by accident, her yacht’s chef bought some “frosted foods” from someone experimenting with the strange concept. The man’s name was Clarence Birdseye (1886-1956). With the acquisition of his nascent company, Mrs. Post created General Foods in 1929 and went on to acquire many commonly used food staples such as Jell-O, Maxwell House and Hellman’s Mayonnaise.

Marjorie had four husbands and three children. Since she believed strongly in “giving back,” Mrs. Post became one of the most revered philanthropists of the twentieth century. She is best known for her famous art collections and for building her Palm Beach estate, Mar-a-Lago, now President Trump’s winter home and private club.

Ironically, Mrs. Post’s dream was for her Florida estate to become a winter residence for American Presidents.

 

Dr. Benito Rakower, LLS Instructor
Lost Illusions, by Balzac

In 1832, the French writer Balzac had the idea of capturing the totality of France in a sequence of novels.  The unifying inspiration for this project was to have the same characters re-appear in subsequent novels, but in different situations with their importance changed, enlarged, or diminished. Readers were fascinated by the “swirl” of events and by the realization that no human life can be portrayed in a single novel.

It is generally agreed that Lost Illusions is the greatest of the 90 novels and novellas that comprise La Comédie humaine.  It recounts the adventures of Lucien Chardon, a handsome young poet from the provinces, who goes to Paris to make his fortune.  No other writer could have done what Balzac did with this deceptively simple and familiar literary theme. As the naïve Lucien explores the streets and quarters of Paris, he is consumed by a single ambition.  He wants to penetrate and conquer the highest tier of aristocratic French society.  He has only one connection, an attractive, wealthy, and well-connected older woman who accompanied him to Paris as lover or friend.  Their intimate relationship is presented with the nonchalance that only the French possess, and Balzac was its master.

In one bold flourish – too subtle to be called a stroke – Balzac has annihilated the presumptions and ideals of the French Revolution.  After all its destructive fury, the aristocratic hierarchy of France remains intact and controls every aspect of social existence.  Not even Tolstoy had the intellectual audacity to recognize this sort of fact.
To exist in Paris was to have a place in its social structure. That place was defined by one’s clothes, the store in which one bought gloves and cravat, the fit and length of one’s jacket. The opera was the capital of French society.  It was there that you were noticed and where any faux pas [a French concept] could ruin any chance for social advancement.
Balzac hated poetry with a passion.  He recognized its evasive egotism.  With enormous skill and energy, Balzac had the ability of describing every detail of waking life with a vitality that accomplished in prose what only Shakespeare was able to achieve in poetry.  Balzac had the ability of making the most sordid aspects of human character intoxicating to read.  Most impressive is Balzac’s gusto and his vast tolerance for human frailty.

 

Gene Monahan, LLS Student
A Different Kind of Daughter, by Debbie Alsdorf;
Infidel, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Two of my recent reads have really impressed me with their stories of survival against horrific odds and the ultimate success of the two main characters. The first book, A Different Kind of Daughter, is the story of a Pakistani girl who grew up wanting to play sports.  In her Islamic society, girls were not allowed to play a sport or wear pants, for that matter.  When the Taliban group came to her village, she was not even allowed to go outside and, for years, she played her sport of Squash against her bedroom walls.  Fortunately, she had a very understanding father.  Eventually, after she had searched for several years for a sponsor to rescue her, a man in Canada saw her request and arranged for her immigration to Canada where she became a world-class player.

The second book, Infidel, is about a girl who grew up in Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia in a very strict Muslim household.  Everyday beatings by her mother were common and genital mutilation was practiced.  She escaped an arranged marriage by her father and made her way to Holland where she learned the language and became an interpreter for the government.Because of the strong tribal practices of her family, she was constantly being searched for and is to this day.  Now, she lives in the United States.  This is an amazing story and gave me tremendous insight into the Islamic faith.

 

Barbara DePalma, LLS Student
We Die Alone:  A WWII Epic of Escape and Endurance,
by David Howarth & Stephen E. Ambrose

In today’s climate of political division, it is heartwarming to read a true story of complete strangers risking everything to keep a near-dead fugitive alive.  After Norwegian Jan Baalsrud’s fellow fighters were killed or captured by the Nazis, Jan found himself alone in Arctic conditions with nothing but his clothes, one boot, and a pistol.

Constantly being pursued by Nazi soldiers, he did his best to keep moving through snow-covered mountains with no shelter to protect him.  Suffering from frostbite and starvation, only his courage, bravery, and strong human endurance got him through.  Along the way, he was helped by noble Norwegians who selflessly tried to help him.  It is stunning to imagine the mental fortitude necessary to survive such an ordeal and how little we truly need to survive!

 

Francia Trosty, LLS Student
The Other Einstein, by Marie Benedict

The Other Einstein is the fictional, but carefully researched, account of the life of an actual historical figure who was Albert Einstein’s first wife, Mileva “Mitza” Marić. In 1896, she was the only female studying physics at Zürich University and one of the first females to study science at the university level in all of Europe. She left home for more liberal Switzerland to continue those studies and became a scientific genius in her own right. And yet, her renown today is considerably less than that of her physicist husband. There is much debate over the degree of Albert’s famed Theory of Relativity that was, in fact, his wife’s own work.

Recognizing Mitza’s brilliance, Albert became infatuated with her and courted her relentlessly, despite the objection of his mother, professing to her a future life of professional as well as loving collaboration. But that was not to be. Despite those promises, he failed to credit her in his papers, was a terrible father and an unloving, philandering husband. In other words – not a nice Jewish boy!

This book brings to mind the question of how many women in history have made invisible contributions to their husband’s renown. Did Sonya Tolstoy, acting as her husband’s secretary, proofreader and financial manager make any significant edits when she painfully re-wrote War and Peace three times by hand?

I fell in love with Mitza and felt her pain as she fought for her equality in the face of adversity but, sadly, lost.

 

 FILM – DOCUMENTARY 

Katie Muldoon, LLS Instructor
Five Came Back – film documentary (based on the book Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War, by journalist Mark Harris).  Directed by Laurent Bouzereau, Narrated by Meryl Streep.

Because many of us have heard about WWII most of our lives from family or films, we think we know a lot about it. Think again.  Netflix has put together a three-part series that showcases breathtaking, eye-opening, spellbinding footage shot from five of the most revered directors of that era and beyond.  Already very successful, Frank Capra, John Ford, John Huston, George Stevens, and William Wyler each put their careers on hold and enlisted in the armed forces, filming with soldiers in action as it took place. One survived a landing with the soldiers on D-Day; one lost his hearing in one ear and became partially deaf in the other from going on multiple bombing runs (this latter one gave me chills, as my dad piloted one of these B-17 tin boxes, being shot down 3 times). Their intent: to create films that acted as powerful motivators to encourage both support and enlistment, thereby using films as marketing tools.

Today’s filmmakers, such as Steven Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola, Guillermo del Toro and others help us understand the background behind what these brave men did and what the time away cost them in lost careers. The third part in the series includes films as the American soldiers first discover Dachau, shattering images that are only more powerful all these years later.

Five Came Back balances real life horrors with the joys of survival enhanced by thrilling welcomes all over France.  It’s the real thing and should be seen by everyone who wants to understand what war really is.

 

MUSIC

Paul Newton, LLS Student
I recently stumbled upon something very valuable to me that I would like to share with my fellow students.  My “review” is on a group of musicians rather than a specific CD.  Probably very few, if any, of my fellow students have ever heard of one of Steven Wilson‘s groups such as Porcupine Tree.  What I love about their songs is that there is often a nice melody, interesting lyrics and some strong heavy parts.  I think that Wilson is very special and consistently puts out great “progressive rock” songs with high quality musicians, some with a video story (e.g., Drive Home).  I especially enjoy the live recordings.  If you like Pink Floyd, early Genesis, Renaissance, The Moody Blues, etc., music, then you just may enjoy Stephen Wilson’s music.  It is easy and free to check this out.  Just go to YouTube on your computer and type “Porcupine Tree, Dark Matter live version” into the search box.  You will then be given options for other songs to pick from on the right side.   These songs just may bring some joy into your life like they did mine.  Wilson’s songs are not short, bright or cheery, but a bit on the darker side so you may also find that you hate them.  I would love to get comments back on what you thought of any of Wilson’s songs.

 

Kimberly Bowman, LLS Staff
Just recently, a good friend introduced me to the music of a wonderful Latin music artist. I have since been rediscovering some of the music that I was introduced to as a young girl growing up in culturally diverse South Florida. This has also rekindled my love for the music of my culture – represented by countries across South and Central America, the Caribbean and Europe. Summer seems the most perfect time of year to relish the sounds of Son Cubano, or even Spanish Flamenco. Most recently, I have been enjoying the music of the Buena Vista Social Club, with some of my favorites being “Chan Chan” and “Candela,” which epitomize the rhythms of Cuban Son. Songs like “Hasta la Raiz” and “Para que Sufrir,” by Mexican singer Natalia Lafourcade and “Mi Primo Juan” by Chambao, a group hailing from Málaga, Spain known for their modern flamenco, have made their way onto my play list as well. The sounds of Latin music are those that bind me to my youth, my family and the tradition of Latin culture that moves across countries and musical genres. I invite you to take a listen, and hope you enjoy it.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

A Life in Poetry

Charles Meynier's painting of Calliope, Muse of Epic Poetry
Sandi Page

By Sandi Page, LLS Jupiter Marketing Committee Member

 

What is it about poetry that has the power to instruct us, to transform us, to comfort us, to inspire us?  I fell in love with poetry as a very young child and it has been a lifelong love affair ever since.  Each night, my mother would read us one of the poems from each of the 88 pages of our whimsically illustrated children’s poetry book. We would never let her skip a page!

When I was 6, I received my own book of children’s poems, all new to me. I still have that book even though it is now held together with masking tape! Those poems taught me the beauty and the musical rhythm of words, how words could be put together in poetic form to delight or to make us think, and how words could be used in unexpected ways.  What child has not giggled at the wonderful silliness of Gelett Burgess’ I never saw a Purple Cow, I never hope to see one; But I can tell you, anyhow, I’d rather see than be one!  What child has not been made giddy by the permission to not like an adult “just because” after reading:
I do not like thee, Dr. Fell,
The reason why I cannot tell;
But this I know, and know full well,
I do not like thee, Dr. Fell.

In my teenage years, we had many poems to memorize for school. Other students found it an onerous task but I had been memorizing them for pleasure for years so I was delighted with the new material.  How thrilling at that age to read William Ernest Henley’s “Invictus”:
…I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.

Or Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken”:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

These two lessons have indeed made all the difference to me throughout the years.

My guiding light as an adult has been the beautiful and introspective poem “Ithaka” by C. P. Cavafy.
As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery…
Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way…
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

A few years ago, a young friend who was too beautiful for this world departed it much too soon. My own words seemed incomplete, inadequate to offer to her grieving family so I translated into French the poem “Beannacht” (the Gaelic word for blessing) by John O’Donohue and gave it to them.  Her sister read it at her funeral:
On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

That poem, along with letters of loss to her written by those of us who knew her best, were then cremated with her so that her spirit would always know how very much she was loved.

After many years of living in France, I came back to the United States to take care of a family member whom I loved fiercely and who had suffered a series of strokes.  While she was still able to, we would take a daily walk through her neighborhood.  The strokes had robbed her of much of her memory and our conversation was limited, but one day she stopped in front of an abandoned house.  She told me it reminded her of a poem she had learned in school as a young girl.  She suddenly recited the first stanza of it, a poem that was unfamiliar to me:
Whenever I walk to Suffern along the Erie track
I go by a poor old farmhouse with its shingles broken and black.
I suppose I’ve passed it a hundred times, but I always stop for a minute
And look at the house, the tragic house, the house with nobody in it…

I was stupefied. When we got home, while she took a nap, I searched through her collection of poetry books trying to find it.  After an hour of searching, there it was:  Joyce Kilmer’s “The House with Nobody In It.”  When she woke, I read it to her in its entirety. Her smile was the finest gift I have ever been given.

Two more strokes took their toll but only once did she give in to the indignity of the physical infirmities she was now facing.  I started to console her, this woman who was the strongest woman I had ever known…and then stopped abruptly as I remembered the words from a Dylan Thomas poem I had memorized years earlier:
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light…

So, I put my arms around her and let her cry, as well she should.  After, I painted rosy pictures of a road trip we would take together.  Once again, her contented smile was my reward even though only I knew that she would never again leave her house except by ambulance.

She was now bedridden.  Each day, it took more and more of my strength to rip her from the greedy arms of the monster of total memory loss, a monster who was gaining ground each day. Conversation was now nigh impossible so I read to her. Our favorites were “The Reader” by Bernhard Schlink and Vicky Myron’s charming “Dewey the Library Cat: a True Story”…and, of course, her favorite poems.  I read to her until my voice gave out……then I read some more. After all, what better gift could I give to this beloved woman who had read me 88 poems every night so many years before?

 

I asked three of our esteemed LLS professors to share with us what poetry means to them. Here are their lyrical responses:

 

Dr. Benito Rakower

In the lower grades of public school, we heard rumors and had intimations of something special ahead. I learned about it from my older sister.  But all the pupils in my class also knew about it. It was famous and, to our childish understanding, magical, wonderful, and powerful. Our only and partial glimpse were the lines:

“Water, water everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.”

We memorized them and were taught by older pupils that they were “poetry.” More important, we knew immediately what the words meant and how horrible the situation described must have been. It was the first time in my life that I came under a spell. In the 7th grade, we read the entire text of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.   

From that moment, I realized that words were more important than grammar.   And that simplicity was grander than cleverness.  When I came to read Shakespeare, it was never his wit and cleverness that impressed me.  Rather, it was the force of a phrase or word that leaps off the page.   The line in Shakespeare that most affected me was Caliban saying to Prospero “wouldst give me water with berries in it.”   Explaining its wounding greatness would be futile.  In fact, explaining poetry is worse than futile.

 

Dr. Kurt F. Stone

Poetry: Words Suffused with Fragrance

Like my mother, who is currently in her very active 90s, my grandmother, who lived to somewhere between 96 and 103 (she lied a lot), did a bit of acting.  And like her daughter, she was immensely literate.  Perhaps that’s because she was born just a few weeks before, and in the same neighborhood as, F. Scott Fitzgerald.  Unlike most Jewish grandmothers, Anne was a really third-rate cook and not much of a housekeeper. However, what she lacked in the kitchen, she more than made up for in the salon or library, for she managed to inculcate in her grandchildren a love of Shakespeare, Tennyson, Byron, and Browning.  Even before we hit kindergarten, she had us reciting Byron (“She walks in beauty, like the night of cloudless climes and starry skies…”), Noyes (“The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees…”), Byron (“Adieu, Adieu! My native shore\ Fades o’er the waters blue …” and, of course, Shakespeare (“The quality of mercy is not strain’d; it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven …”).

According to grandma, poetry was the highest form of literature – the only one in which “words are suffused with both beauty and fragrance.” And although few of our friends – many of whom were, in reality, the children of novelists and screenwriters – could quite understand why we were forever reciting poetic verse – we felt truly special. For to this very day – and I am now a grandparent myself – I can still hear, feel, and even sense the fragrance of the poetry Anne shared with us so many, many years ago. The words she read are immortal; the woman who read them is, likewise, immortal.

As a postscript, we have long possessed in our family, a leather-bound 1878 Avon edition of the complete words of Shakespeare. In every generation, it is given over to one member of the family for safekeeping; this tradition is now in its 5th generation.  I am happy to report that since the mid-1990s, I have been the keeper of this marvelous volume, filled with the smudges, fingerprints and utter enjoyment of those literate ancestors who came before me.

 

Dr. Taylor Hagood

I know what you’re thinking . . . .

Not poetry!

Ugh, all those lines and that weird sing-songy way you have to read it and the rhyming. Or maybe it doesn’t rhyme—that’s even worse. You imagine people reading, in those overly tragic tones, lines that are utterly inscrutable. There may be some clever turns of phrase, but what does any of it mean?

Oh no, the HIDDEN MEANING!!! That’s the worst of all. Who can possibly figure out what the “poet” is trying to say?? Who has time to worry about it?

I feel your pain. I have myself thought the same way. I pretty much felt that way all through elementary, junior, and half of high school.
Then, one day, I was in a junior level high school English class, and, finally, we were getting away from diagramming sentences (a form of torture the millennials have no knowledge of) and reading short stories by Hawthorne and Poe. How I loved those tales with their fine romantic glow—old Feathertop being transformed from a broomstick contraption to a real man, Prince Prospero with his grand masque ball interrupted by the inexorable red death.
I was having a fine time of it, and then the day came when we had to read some poetry. I groaned inside. How could I get through this hiatus and on to the good fiction again?
The teacher was a man named Pete Caleodis. He had a way of peering down his eyes at you, and when he spoke, only the ends of his lips turned up. He had a superior kind of disdain for pretty much anybody and anything. He was about the driest of the dry. It was hard to imagine a sense of humor or a heart or much of anything alive about him.
Mr. Caleodis had assigned us Poe’s poem, “The Bells,” and, I have to say, I thought it was about the silliest thing I’d ever tried to read. Bells, bells, bells, bells, bells. No wonder Ralph Waldo Emerson called Poe “the jingle man.”
Mr. Caleodis said he was going to read this one to us aloud. I was prepared for the worst.
And, at first, it seemed like some version of the worst. He started in reading about the silver bells, and, somehow, this dry old fellow’s voice went octaves higher than I could ever imagine it as he rushed through. We all started laughing. He was like some kind of cartoon character. What was he doing?
But then he got to the wedding bells, and his voice dropped a little and he read slower, and suddenly his voice had a nice round sound to it. These were the golden bells, and he made them sound golden. And when he got to the part where he repeated the word “bells,” he didn’t do it quickly but instead read them slower, with a fine kind of tone that mimicked the sound of bells ringing.
I quit laughing. He had my attention.
I looked down at the poem in my book as he began reading about brazen bells. His voice got loud now, and I could feel how those bells were terrifying. They were angry, and I could hear the brass in his voice and the violence as he read. I was rapt now, in a different world.  Maybe I was in Notre Dame cathedral itself and it was Quasimodo himself ringing the bells. Maybe Mr. Caleodis was Quasimodo come back from the dead.
And then came the iron bells. The voice dropped in register and volume both. It wasn’t Mr. Caleodis’s voice anymore. It was a disembodied voice. The voice of the poem. The voice of bells themselves. They groaned and rung and moaned and sung. They were giant, massive, full of overwhelming pain, so heavy they could barely swing. They sounded in their hurtling monotone, and, when the last one rang, I could hear its echo vibrating around the room.
I opened my eyes. I wasn’t sure when I’d closed them. I looked at the man who’d never seemed like a real person to me. He’d transformed into something unearthly.
And so had poetry. My whole understanding of poetry and what it could be was changed right there.
I guess my life changed, too.
Mr. Caleodis went on to do other dramatic performances that semester. He read Langston Hughes’s “The Weary Blues” just like it was a blues song, and I could hear the click of those keys just like my grandmother’s old piano that drew blood when you dared do a glissando. He also read James Whitcomb Riley’s “Little Orphant Annie,” and, if the good Lord lets me live, I plan to read that one the way he did it for my little nephew come Halloween.
Because poetry is not about trying to mean something or trying to sound smart or melodramatic. In its core, it’s about sounding the music of a human’s heart and soul. Plain and simple. A literary critic can write about it and show all the different ways a poem touches different aspects of life. But when you get down to the bone with poetry, it is really about people expressing the deepest things of what people are. Sometimes it’s happy, sometimes fun, sometimes sad, sometimes broken, just like all those different kinds of bells.

But what about those HIDDEN MEANINGS???!!! Aren’t we supposed to find those in poetry?
To answer that, I would mention another great teacher I had. His name was David Noble. He was an original. Only one in the world like him. He came from way down in West Virginia; he was a southerner in the North just as I was, and he taught me how to wear that identity with pride. He had a standard uniform: a button-down, jeans, loafers, and a fly-fishing vest. I don’t think he ever did any fly-fishing, but he was always wearing that vest. He kept all kinds of packets of cigarettes in it. He also kept life-savers and, periodically throughout class, he would ask trivia questions, and if you got it right, he tossed you a life-saver as a reward. Better make sure you caught it—you didn’t get a second one.
Dr. Noble believed in moving classes along at what he called a “civilized pace.” That meant you didn’t worry too much about keeping to a schedule. He never put a calendar on the syllabus. He assigned readings, and if you got through them in the given class period, that was fine. But if things got exciting, you just kept going.
You never knew what was going to happen in his class. One time, in a course on Romantics and Victorians, it was springtime, and he went out and cut a bunch of apple blossoms on the trees outside the building. “Delve your nose in there,” he said. Literature was living. It was the written form of life just as a score was the written form of music.
My first course with him was an introduction to poetry. I was scared all over again because while Mr. Caleodis had shown me the possibilities for poetry, this was the university, and I doubted anybody would have fun with poetry here. Things were serious.
Then Dr. Noble walked in wearing that outfit. He went through the roll to see who was there. Then he said he’d had a song on his mind, “I Put a Spell on You.” Did anybody know who first wrote and recorded it? He pulled out a life-saver.
Nobody knew.
“Screamin’ Jay Hawkins,” he said with a laugh to himself and popped that life-saver into his own mouth.
Then he said, “Rule number one in this class: we’re not on the hunt for hidden meanings.”
We all looked around.
“If there are any meanings in any of this poetry,” he went on, “it will be right there, out in the open. Not hidden at all.”
He then had us read a poem entitled “The Mad Yak” in which a yak (the four-legged animal) is worried to death about his bones being turned into buttons.
“What’s the meaning here, right out in the open?” he asked.
“That if you’re a yak, you have to worry about your bones being turned into buttons?” somebody said.
I think that person got a life-saver.

What’s the moral of all of this? First, don’t be afraid of poetry. Second, don’t hesitate to take a poetry class here at LLS. We’re not searching for hidden meanings. We’re here to experience poetry being life. It’s that simple. If you like people talking, expressing, making you laugh, making you cry, then poetry’s for you. I’ll try to remember to bring life-savers. Poetry has definitely found ways to save my life; maybe you will need it to save yours, too. At the very least, it will be fun.

 

 

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Instructor Spotlight: Katie Muldoon

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Associate Director

By Kami Barrett-Batchelder Associate Director

 

 

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Katie Muldoon

  1. With a background in marketing, you founded The Muldoon Agency in New York City. What inspired you to become passionate about films, especially foreign films? Why have you decided to teach in this phase of your life?

In my era, women’s career choices were generally nursing or teaching and, true to form, I planned to teach grammar school children.  While attempting to put myself through college at the University of Cincinnati (UC), I followed my artist dad’s footsteps and worked in advertising. Finding advertising a natural fit, I moved, over time, from copywriting to art direction and, finally, in New York City (having left Cincinnati), my own marketing/advertising company.

My love for art films started in Mt. Adams, the bohemian part of Cincinnati perched on one of its seven hills from where you can, literally, walk down the hill to the city. This is where I lived while going to night school at UC and working in advertising. There, a funky, art deco movie house had featured “art films” that at first drew me simply because they were different.  But after only a few tastes, my sister and I gorged ourselves on Z, 8 ½, Metropolis, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Belle De Jour, Repulsion (I had nightmares for a week), Jules and Jim, The Conformist, La Dolce Vita and every international film shown.  The dramatic, original graphics, the genuine, gritty, in-depth, fresh stories, the real, not always glamorous, but still extraordinarily appealing actors…this was a whole new level of cinema.

In the beginning, it was the graphics that garnered most of my attention.  Dad was a superb teacher of art. From the time my sister and I could talk, he explained color, balance and other aspects of art and design to us. In NYC, I had a potpourri of film events where I could find unusual films, from tiny film events where young directors presented their films, sharing the art approach behind their films, to the New York Film Festival with such luminaries as Pedro Almodovar.  Plus, there is MOMA with its regular film shows, the tiny Thalia theatre, the Bleecker Street theater – so many places where one could learn and share knowledge with friends.

Now, to keep learning, I watch the extras on the films/enclosed discs and hunt for documentaries such as “Visions of Light” that explain how light is utilized in film.  It is why, in my film classes, I try to share, in addition to information about the country and its traditions, some of the more art-oriented production aspects, such as camera angles, lighting, effects of sound and so forth with attendees, as it adds to the overall film experience.

Revisiting my desire to be a teacher, even while I was running my agency in NYC, I still, part of the time, taught marketing both for NYU and the Direct Marketing Association. Eventually, because of an ever-increasing travel schedule, I had to give up much of the teaching. But I missed it.  When we moved to the Key West area, I taught for the Literacy Coalition.  And, I might do so again in Palm Beach if time ever allows.

But right now, I have the opportunity to take another love – film – and combine it with my first love – teaching – for FAU LLS. To me, the greatest joy for a teacher is to see someone happy with shared knowledge.  Often, students tell me how much they have loved a film and what it has meant to them or what they have learned. That is pure magic.

 

  1. This summer, you will present “Foreign Films Made Right the First Time.” Give us a glimpse as to what you will cover in this four-week course. What do you hope your students will take away from your presentation and the films?

“Foreign Films Made Right the First Time” uses the fact that superb international films have been redone by an American company, almost always in a less than stellar manner.  It is this difference between U.S. films and international films that highlights some of the reasons why my sister and I got the foreign film bug at such a young age.  This class will concentrate on the generally greatly superior foreign film but take time to examine the American “knock-off” and note what it is that specifically makes the original better.

Due to time considerations, I have constructed a comparison grid for the main class to review; the discussion group will also have clips and a trailer of the “knock-off” film to show the essence of the whole film. The discussion group will spend about a quarter of the time discussing the differences between the two films. The remainder of the time, we will talk about the main, original film as we do in all my classes.

Most of the summer films are selected in a more “summer” motif – thriller-type style rather than the more serious, heavier stories we often have in class.  Each film is highly respected, multi- award winning and a prime example of its particular genre.

 

  1. What is your favorite foreign film? Why?

The reason I don’t have a favorite foreign film (or a favorite film of any type) is, thankfully, I keep discovering new and even more outstanding films.

 

Katie Muldoon will teach a four-week course, “Foreign Films Made Right the First Time,” starting on Wednesday, July 5, 2017 at 1 p.m. To register, click here.

 

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TRAVEL DISASTERS

Travel Diaster Blog
Sandi Page

By Sandi Page, LLS Jupiter Marketing Committee Member

 

Like the lyrics of a famous song, faraway places with strange-sounding names have always called to me.  The people, languages, sights, cuisines, colors and smells I encountered during my travels have made an indelible mark and constitute the rich, patchwork quilt of experiences that is my life.  Most of the memories of those trips are wonderful, many almost sublime.  Inevitably, a few near-disaster travel adventures peppered the route.  One of them took place in Greece, a country I have visited many times and that feels like a second home.

We always passed through Athens on each of our trips to Greece because I needed a few days to see the Acropolis yet again and to revisit my favorite museum exhibitions, not to mention the obligatory pilgrimages to the wonderful little non-tourist restaurants that we had discovered and where we were treated each year like returning family, in part because we took care to greet them and order our meals in Greek.

One year, we decided to finally visit Delphi to commune with the oracle and to feel the influence of the Delphic maxims “Nothing in excess” and “Know thyself”, sayings which had forever fascinated me and which seemed to be excellent words to live by.  We arrived very early in the morning at the Athens bus station, each armed with a book, and bought our reserved seat tickets.  As we climbed onto the bus, my eyes met the bus driver’s and a cold chill ran down my spine. My gift of ESP had never kicked in as strongly as it did that day.  I turned to my companion and told him that we couldn’t take the trip, that something terrible would happen if we did.    He was surprised at such an odd declaration coming from me but, nevertheless, gently said that I was being irrational.  I reluctantly tried to put my premonition aside.  We sat down and were settling in when I noticed that our seat numbers were not those marked on our tickets.   Feeling danger once again, I insisted that we switch to our assigned seats.  The bus filled with other passengers while I was filled with dread.  As the bus driver started the three-hour trip, I buried myself in my book so as not to see what I knew was impending disaster.   Halfway through the trip, our driver fell asleep at the wheel, the bus swerved and we crashed into an oncoming bus.   In my shock, I noted that the driver of the other bus, slumped over the wheel, was not moving.  The scene was horrendous, the smell of gas overpowering, the silence eerie. The people sitting in our original seats had been hurt worse than us. As we were trying to evacuate the bus, one of the passengers, an old Greek man, nervously lit a cigarette.  I broke the silence by screaming “No!”  in Greek, and although he was dazed like the rest of us, he immediately put it out.     After we were a safe distance from the bus, I realized that I had left my book on the bus and inexplicably ran back to get it!   We were transported to the hospital where I kept telling the doctor treating me that people had been killed.   The doctor kept telling me that everyone was fine.    I couldn’t understand why he switched from Greek to English to French and finally settled on speaking in Spanish to my companion who was in better shape than I was.  I spent the rest of the day hooked up to an IV.  When I was finally released, I found out that the doctor had been speaking in Spanish because he didn’t want me to know that three people had indeed been killed, including the other bus driver.  When we saw the pictures of the crash on the front page of the Athenian newspapers the next day, we couldn’t believe that we had survived.  Although we grieved for the lives lost, we felt the renewed sweetness of our own lives for years after.  My ESP powers were not put in doubt again but we never attempted another trip to Delphi.  The oracle had spoken.

Read on to discover other travel disaster stories from your fellow LLS students, staff and professors.

 

Barbara DePalma, Student
Our two-week trip to explore the Canadian Rockies was off to a great start. We had just landed in Calgary and were headed to Customs when a beautiful black dog bounded up to our
15-year-old son, Mike.  As Mike was petting the dog, we were suddenly surrounded by Customs officials. They quickly separated Mike from us and escorted him behind closed doors. My husband insisted on being with Mike, while I waited in confusion and shock with a Customs agent who told me that the dog had sniffed drugs on Mike. Patiently explaining that the parents are the last ones to know, she tried to convince me that it was better that we found out. It seemed forever before the agents came out and said that they could find no trace of drugs on Mike and that the dog was only interested in his sneakers. They had taken his shoes apart and found nothing. A light suddenly went on in my head! I explained that the previous weekend, we had gone to an outdoor Metallica concert where drugs were rampant. Was it possible that drug residue was on his sneakers? The agent confirmed that made sense because the soles were the only area the dog identified. Mike was released and we were again on our way. Later that night, Mike asked us if we had any doubts as the dog had been so positive. The look of gratitude on his face when we answered “No doubts at all” made the horrible ordeal almost worth it.

 

Paul and Christine Newton, Students
Many years ago, Paul and I were in the security line of a Central American airport on our way to a scuba trip when disaster almost struck.  We could definitely tell that we were in a Third World country.  As my carry-on bag went through security, the attendant repeatedly passed the bag through the X-ray and kept asking me if I had a knife in it.   Confidently, I denied having one.  She continued to ask and Paul wondered aloud if I had packed our dive knives in the carry-on but I knew that they were in the checked baggage.
The attendant asked a final time, as if to give me one last chance to confess, and I said no.  The attendant abruptly removed my bag from the line and started to search it.  Within 30 seconds, she removed a steak knife with a five-inch blade and a fork from one of the side pockets of my bag.  I almost fainted as my life flashed before me.  I’ve seen “Locked Up Abroad”!  I imagined Paul and me being handcuffed and separated, never to see each other or our families again.  Was there even a US embassy there??  By this time, there were several uniformed personnel inspecting my bag.  Much to our relief, they believed that I did not know that the knife and fork were in the bag and let us proceed with our trip after confiscating the utensils.  A noteworthy fact:  We had passed through security in two major US airports earlier in the day with the knife and fork undetected!

 

Richard René Silvin, LLS Lecturer
Some twenty years ago, I was booked on Cunard’s SS Vistafjord for a two-week “repositioning crossing” from Fort Lauderdale to Malta.

Around midnight of the first day, I noticed the engine vibration had stopped and I went out on the balcony to find the ship was dead in the water with flames flying out of the funnel. Within minutes, the alarms rang and the Captain addressed the ship, explaining that this was no drill. We were ordered to get our life preservers and proceed to our assigned “muster stations” at our designated lifeboats. There, an officer explained what we already knew: there was a fire. It had started in the engine room and the ship’s firefighters were trying to put it out.

Shortly thereafter, we were asked to get into our lifeboats, which had been lowered into boarding position. We remained in them for two hours, while news helicopters and Coast Guard planes circled the ship. Eventually, we were informed that the fire had been put out, and that we could now gather on deck (the ship was full of smoke) where hot soup and coffee would be served.

Several hours later, we were allowed to go back to our cabins, but the ship was inoperative and would be towed to Nassau. From there, we were removed from the ship, taken to the airport and flown by chartered plane to either Fort Lauderdale or London.

Sadly, one sailor was killed. The ship was rehabilitated and rechristened the Caronia.

 

Paul Brown, Student
It had been quite some time since we had been to London so we were very excited, especially as we were traveling on the Concorde.  Although the seats were rather narrow and the window seat had a warm wall, the meal and the service were handled quite well. The trip from JFK to Heathrow was scheduled to take only three hours and nineteen minutes.

Right on time, we touched down on a cool rainy night.  But before the plane stopped, we were informed that there was a fire in the wheel well and we would have to make an immediate emergency exit from the plane.  An announcement was made that all personal belongings should be left at the seat and would be collected in the terminal.

The exit was to be by the slides at the front of the plane.  Unfortunately, there was a problem with the slide on the right side which did not deploy.  This left the approximately 85 passengers and crew the one slide on the front left side.  Everyone was orderly and not concerned.  Why should we be?  We were already on the ground.  What could go wrong?  Regrettably, neither the cabin crew nor cockpit staff notified the women to remove their high-heeled shoes before jumping onto the slide.  Sure enough, the first woman with heels tore the slide and fell to the tarmac.  Thereafter, all passengers had to be caught before hitting the ground.

The trip to the terminal was uneventful.   We were allowed back onto the plane (which had been subsequently towed to the gate) row by row to prevent any thefts and then offered a complimentary drink in the lounge.  Interestingly, we heard no talk of suing the airline, but we were sent a complimentary round trip ticket to continue using the Concorde. This trip, when combined with others we have taken, clearly indicates that it is in your best interests not to travel with us.

 

Francia Trosty, Student
In the mid-nineties, the Chinese government was offering travel incentives to academics and so I went with a group of colleagues to Beijing. My friend Sally discovered upon arrival that her luggage was missing and she had absolutely nothing to wear. No problem, we thought. We were in a beautiful hotel in a downtown area with boutiques and fashionable stores nearby so we went shopping! However, it quickly became apparent, to our surprise, that all those garments made in China and mass marketed all over the world were not available to the locals. Sally, at 5’6” and a size 12, was way off the body proportion scale for local Chinese women. Nothing in her size was available anywhere at any price.  Undaunted, about 10 of us women in the group convened in Sally’s room with offerings from our personal belongings and she was able to cobble together a temporary wardrobe until her luggage arrived a few days later.

 

Peter Lippman, Student
It was 2012.  Our youngest son, Andrew, had been touring the world with Johnny Hallyday — the French Sinatra — and had announced two scheduled North American performances, one in New York City and one in Montreal.  Montreal made better sense for us, since a trip there would also facilitate a visit with family and friends.  We drove up to the Paris of Québec and, on the designated chilly October evening, joined the Bell Center box office line to collect the tickets that Andrew had secured for us and other family members.  It was a long line, which inched forward only laboriously, so, to pass the time, we chatted with each other.  It seemed a little peculiar that our in-line neighbors soon began to eye us somewhat quizzically, first one set, then another.  Finally, we could contain ourselves no further.  “Is there something that we can help you with?” we asked.  “Yes”, one lady responded, “We’re all wondering what you Anglophones (English-speakers) are doing at a Johnny Hallyday (i.e. French language) concert.”  We explained that a) Unlike many English-speaking Montrealers, we do speak French and b) that our son was one of the principal performers.  WOW!  We became instant heroes on both counts.  The concert volume and incessantly flashing strobe lights turned out to be less appreciable for those of us over fifty, but the preamble remains memorable.  (Incidentally, “L’homme du Train” (“Man on the Train”), a movie starring Johnny Hallyday, was included in Katie Muldoon’s LLS Spring course.)

 

Emily Morton, Staff
When I was about thirteen years old, my family and I took a trip to New Orleans. We spent time walking around the city, visiting the old French Quarter with its tantalizing aroma of Cajun cuisine. We also ventured into the swamp, wandering by airboat through great cypress trees on the Mississippi River. When it was time to go home, we boarded our plane. As we began to take off, the plane suddenly screeched to a halt on the runway, jolting us forward in our seats. I tried to look out the window to see what had happened but there was something red smeared on the glass. The flight attendant got on the plane’s intercom and explained that birds, which had suddenly appeared on the runway, had gotten caught in the engine during takeoff. I remember the heavy smell of burnt asphalt as we exited the plane. Aside from that experience, New Orleans remains one of my favorite cities.

 

Ginny Higgins, Student
I was in Nepal 3 weeks before the earthquake, was in New Zealand this past year during their earthquake (we were not too close but had just left Wellington and visited buildings where there was damage), and I slept in JFK airport one night while our Air China plane was being repaired after leaking fuel twice while we were on and off it (still can’t believe I got on it a third time the next morning). There are too many bathroom, or lack thereof, stories from my younger years that I will NOT share with anyone!

But the most ridiculous thing that happened was when Jim and I were flying to Australia with a layover in Los Angeles.  We almost ALWAYS travel with only carry-on and we are VERY used to getting off a plane, grabbing our luggage from the overhead bin, putting our backpacks on, and we are off and running.  So, naturally, when we landed in LA, we did just that.  We were so excited that we made the shuttle in record time and got to the hotel feeling terrific about our fabulous traveling expertise.  As we started to check in, we, of course, now realized that we had no luggage for a month-long trip.  So, I laughed, told the clerk we would return, and off we went back to the airport.  This time we took and PAID for a cab rather than wait for 1/2 hour for another free shuttle!  When we got to the airport, we were astonished to find that our luggage (and ONLY OUR luggage) was still circling around just waiting for us. By the way, the Australia/New Zealand trip was amazing.  If you have been there, you know.  If you haven’t, GO!!!

 

Benito Rakower, Professor
It was late July and we were in Lugano. I suggested to my wife that we hitch-hike back to Paris instead of taking the train.  Heike was reluctant at first, “I don’t like to entertain strange people.”

The next day, we were outside Basel, by the road to Burgundy.  A tan Citroen stopped to pick us up.  The driver was French and worked in museum painting restoration.  We got into a conversation about the asperities of Villon’s poetry.  Tall, dark-haired and handsome, Daniel had the languid calme of an aristocrat.  He wore no watch on his wrist. Daniel suggested we detour to the Loire and visit the Chateaux.  We were all game for it.  At Blois, we found a quaint hotel for the night and spent the next day visiting Chambord and Amboise.  Daniel had a Michelin Guide, which he never consulted. He knew everything.

Dinner was at an expensive restaurant seated outside.  Heike wore a dark blue skirt and matching pullover sweater – her lethal color.  All we ordered was lobster, with a rich sauce, ripe cantaloupe, and white wine.  At a certain moment, Daniel toasted Heike silently over the sparkling rim of his gleaming wine glass.  Heike toasted him back.  I had never before seen the expression on her face.

Later, in our hotel room alone, I asked, “Have you fallen in love with Daniel?”  Heike had an aversion to direct questions.  She said, “I didn’t want to hitch-hike.”  Each word hit the mark.  For the rest of the trip, Heike sat in front.  In Paris, there was a farewell drink.  Daniel gave us his business card and we parted friends.

Heike and I found a hotel on Rue Jacob and went for a stroll.  At the Café Flore, I recognized Rosemary, a once legendary English major from Radcliffe. I introduced myself and Heike.  It was odd that she was seated alone.

Twenty years later, we met again by chance in the middle of a sun-drenched road in Cambridge.  Rosemary remembered me.  We were both divorced. One night, we were walking up Avon Hill Road discussing Seventeen.  Swept up by the warm night, Rosemary’s beauty, and glimpses into homes with bookcases, I said, “Why don’t we live together?”  Rosemary responded, “I think we are.”

 

Suzanna (Suzie) Wells, Staff
This makes me feel anxious even now, six years on, having to write about it. In July 2011, just before I moved to Florida, my mum, my sister, my then 18-year-old twin girls and I treated ourselves to a holiday in the South of France. We had the loan of a wonderful private villa that belonged to my sister’s boss at the time, the CEO of Credit Suisse. The villa was idyllic.  Even Nicolas Sarkozy had a villa just up the street and we would see his helicopter from time to time flying over the beach which we overlooked. One day, while lying on the beach, my sister, the girls and I decided to rent some kayaks.  I went with Jo as she was the keen rower, having rowed for her school and I’m the weakest swimmer. Most of the kayaks were out that day so we ended up with only one oar each and, of course, no life jackets were offered or even thought about!  That was my naive city way of thinking in play!

We started off keeping close to the harbor, but then decided to venture beyond the small fishing boats and yachts that were docked there. It was then that the weather took a turn for the worse and the waters started to get rough. It wasn’t long before we lost sight of my sister Bee who was with my other daughter Dixie.  Little did we know that they had been knocked out of their kayak by an overly enthusiastic speedboater and were clinging on in very deep water.

By this time, the sea was so rough that we couldn’t row back so we started shouting for help. When a big wave came along, we got tipped out.  I drank more seawater than I did red wine on that trip, that’s for sure.

Jo managed to climb onto a small fishing boat that passed her. It was manned by an elderly French couple but the waters were too rough for them to reach me and, to be honest, they seemed more interested in saving the kayak! Knowing I wasn’t a great swimmer, Jo panicked and threw me a long rope that was on board.  This part would have been funny if I hadn’t felt so near death, but as I kept pulling the rope towards me, I reached the end of it. Jo hadn’t realized it wasn’t tied on anywhere!!! So, there I was in deep, deep water, no life jacket, tangled up in a rope, drinking so much sea water and getting weaker by the minute.  It was at that point I thought I was a gonna (English term here meaning done for).  If the cold water didn’t kill me off, the sharks certainly would. Meanwhile, the others had luckily been picked up by a passing boat (I’m glad they are such good swimmers).

Just as I had given up and started feeling that calmness you hear about in drowning accidents, out of nowhere this big luxury speedboat came along and scooped me out of the water (in my one and only James Bond moment). It was owned by a young German guy, which would have been romantic if I hadn’t lost my bikini top and looked like a drowned rat! Not even sure when I lost that (but I guess who cares in the South of France)!
So, this kind German wrapped me in a towel and gave me water and rushed me to the shore where the police & medics picked me up. Bee and Dixie were also there waiting with the police. I was wrapped in an aluminum blanket and given hot chocolate to drink. They wanted to take me to hospital, but now I was worried about Jo. I knew she was on a fishing boat with an elderly French couple.  I didn’t know if she had seen me get picked up or not, so a search boat was sent out for her. She was eventually found by the police running around the beach with a bag of fresh clothes and water looking for us, bless her.  We were kept with the police and medics for hours until we were all reunited, and they felt we were well enough to leave. Needless to say, we stuck to the pool for the rest of that holiday! So, lesson learnt here, never do any water sports without a life jacket! That was the last time I’ve been on a kayak! Even living in a beautiful place like Jupiter, I just break out in a cold sweat at the thought of it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Have You Found Your Arcadia? Part II: Inspiration as Muse

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By Terryl Lawrence, Ph.D.

1021px-The_Kiss_-_Gustav_Klimt_-_Google_Cultural_Institute

The Kiss by Gustav Klimt

The twentieth century was host to more artistic movements than any other time in our history. Creativity in all fields seemed to have soared to new heights. Although Gertrude Stein claimed that “Paris was where the 20th Century was”, I believe that the passion for developing new artistic ideas was more universal.

The range of inventiveness was widespread in art, music, architecture, dance, and the theater. Although enterprise in the twenty-first century is in our bones, the imagination of those innovators who came before this time is difficult to match.

Florida became a wondrous area for ceramics and painting. The Ashcan artists in New York had a gritty, but gorgeous, approach to their canvases, and the Pre-Raphaelites in England were enchanted by mythology, literature, and spectacular women. California Bay Area artists proved that they were truly “the Golden State”, and San Miguel de Allende drew from the majesty and history of Mexico to become a mecca for resourceful creators in paint, pen, sculpture, fabrics, and dreams.

Terrace of a Cafe at Night by Vincent van Gogh

Terrace of a Café at Night by Vincent van Gogh

One cannot help but be inspired by the magic that occurred in those studios, schools, and art colonies. In my upcoming 6-week summer course at LLS Jupiter, we will suspend time, and travel to those unique and special regions to partake in those exceptional times.

Have you found your Arcadia? Part II: Inspiration as Muse
Tuesdays – May 16, 23, 30; June 6, 13, 20, 2017
1:30-3:00 p.m.

To register, click here.

 

 

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The Syria Crisis Has Evolved into an International Power Struggle

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Robert Rabil, Ph.D. – Talk of the Day

 

Kami Barrett Batchelder Associate Director

 

Rabil_Robert

Robert Rabil, Ph.D.

Robert Rabil, Ph.D., an internationally renowned and acclaimed scholar and LLS instructor, wrote an article, “The Syria Crisis Has Evolved into an International Power Struggle”, on April 18, 2017 for The National Interest.

To view the article, please click here.

This summer, Dr. Rabil will present a four-week course at FAU LLS Jupiter titled “Talk of the Day” which will examine the most debated cultural and political issues as related to U.S. values and foreign policy. These lectures strive to provide context and background against which these issues have become national news and seek to shed light on the implications of these conflicted issues for the collective consciousness of the American nation.

Classes will begin on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at 10 a.m.  If a student cannot attend all four lectures of the course, an Explorer Ticket may be purchased at the door for $15. We allow this one time for a four-week course.

Dr. Rabil’s books have been highly commended and reviewed by major academic journals in the U.S., U.K., Arab world, Australia, Israel and Iran. His recent book on Salafism, based on Arabic primary sources and field research trips to the Middle East, broke new ground in the fields of Islamism, terrorism and Middle East politics. He is considered one of the leading experts on Salafism, radical Islam, U.S.-Arab and Arab-Israeli relations and terrorism. He served as Chief of Emergency for the Red Cross in Lebanon and was Project Manager of the U.S. State Department-funded Iraq Research and Documentation Project. He lectures nationally and internationally, and participates in forums and seminars sponsored by the U.S. government, including the U.S. Army and the National Intelligence Council. He holds a Masters in Government from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University. In May 2012, he was conferred with an honorary Ph.D. in humanities from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. He is a Professor of Political Science at Florida Atlantic University (FAU).

Talk of the Day
Wednesdays – May 17, May 24, May 31, June 7, 2017
10-11:30 a.m.

To register, click here.

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Terence Rattigan – The Deep Blue Sea

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Kimberly Bowman Coordinator of Academic Programs

Kimberly Bowman
Coordinator of Academic Programs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Terence Rattigan

Terence Rattigan

Inspired by the personal life tragedy of British playwright Terence Rattigan, The Deep Blue Sea tells the story of Lady Hester Collyer, as set in Ladbroke Grove, West London in 1952. In the midst of a successful career as a writer in London, Rattigan had experienced the loss of his partner, actor Kenneth Morgan, to suicide. The narrative of Hester Collyer expresses the deep torment and sorrow that Rattigan himself experienced as a gay man, living in a time where his sexuality, his secret relationship, and his love were completely objectionable in society. The first performance of Rattigan’s play took place in London, on March 6, 1952, and received immediate critical acclaim. In the U.S., The Deep Blue Sea made its Broadway premiere in 1953.

 

The tale centers round Collyer’s deep desperation resulting from an unrequited love, which inevitably brings her to a suicide attempt. Collyer, the wife of a High Court judge, is involved in a turbulent affair with RAF pilot, Freddie Page. Her passion, now unanswered by her lover, brings her to her breaking point.

 

Helen McCrory

Helen McCrory

The dramatic opening scene of the National Theatre’s production of Rattigan’s The Deep Blue Sea reveals a tragic Collyer, collapsed in front of a gas fire following her suicide attempt. The role of Collyer, performed by actor Helen McCrory, has been hailed as one of the greatest female roles in contemporary drama. The play, directed by Carrie Cracknell, also stars Tom Burke in the role of Freddie Page and Peter Sullivan in the role of William Collyer.

 

The FAU Lifelong Learning Society (LLS) Jupiter is now partnering with National Theatre Live which broadcasts world-class theatre and the Bolshoi Ballet productions to cinemas in the United Kingdom and internationally.  Through this partnership, LLS Jupiter will bring the National Theatre pre-recorded presentation of The Deep Blue Sea to LLS on Friday, May 19, 2017 from 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.  This program will have an intermission.

 

Tickets are $20 for members and non-members.

To register for the National Theatre Live pre-recorded broadcast The Deep Blue Sea, visit www.fau.edu/llsjupiter.

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