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January 2, 2018 -- March 12, 2018

Monday 1:15-3:15 p.m.

The 1970s, A Decade of Transition

The 1970s was a tumultuous decade that saw the Kent State shootings, the massacre at the 1972 Munich Olympics, and the "killing fields" of Cambodia. In the United States, there was continued opposition to the Vietnam War. This was also the decade of the Watergate scandal, which culminated with the impeachment and resignation of Richard Nixon. During the Carter Administration, the United States saw "stagflation," the energy crisis, and the Iran hostages. Meanwhile, America's popular culture witnessed the disco craze and the birth of hip-hop culture. Come join us as we explore this fascinating transitional decade.

Marriage of Figaro and Barber of Seville

In this course we will watch, listen to, and discuss two operas, written by different composers and based on two plays by the same author. The first opera is Mozart's Marriage of Figaro; the second is Rossini's Barber of Seville. We will listen to and discuss approximately one fourth (or one act) of each opera per week. Both operas are comedies and appropriate even for someone not otherwise familiar with grand opera. The famous aria in which the character sings the name "Figaro, Figaro…" is in the Barber of Seville. The coordinator will be providing the DVDs that we will watch in class.

Tuesday 9:30 - 11:30 a.m.

Hot Topics

This is an open-ended class. Presentations can utilize any qualified source (newspapers, magazines, radio, television, books, etc.) covering the recent political or social scene and historical events with current relevancy. Issues can be local, national or international. Controversial topics are welcome as they engender discussion. Join us if you enjoy lively, stimulating discussion.

American Rhodes Scholars

Being a Rhodes Scholar is an impressive accomplishment. What Americans received these scholarships and why were they qualified for this honor? Who were they then and what have they accomplished since? The list is long and impressive including such notables as Bill Bradley, Bobby Jindal, Kris Kristofferson, Rachel Maddow, Dean Rusk, Robert Reich, Bill Clinton, Edwin Hubble, and many others.

Tuesday noon- 3:15 p.m.

Film Noir

The term Film Noir describes stylistically dark Hollywood crime dramas that emphasize sexual motivations and cynical attitudes. The apex of film noir extends from the early 1940s to the late 1950s. This era is associated with a low-key, black-and-white visual style that has roots in German Expressionism. Many of the prototypical stories and attitudes of this genre derive from the hardboiled school of crime fiction that emerged in the United States during the Great Depression. We will watch and discuss many of the classics from this period.

Tuesday 1:15 p.m.- 3:15 p.m.

Great Comedians

There are many comedians who created great characters or classic routines of which we never tire. In this class we will watch classic comedy routines and discuss what makes them so funny. We will also explore how these comedians influenced the evolution of comedy in America. Possible comedians for consideration are Abbott and Costello, Laurel and Hardy, the Marx Brothers, Carol Burnett, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, Lily Tomlin, Robin Williams, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, and many others.

Wednesday 9:30 a.m.- 11:30 a.m.

The Fall of the Roman Empire

When the last Roman emperor was deposed in 476 A.D. and the Empire of the West fell, scarcely anyone realized the Pax Romana was gone forever. In this class we will explore the last two hundred years of Rome, as she remodeled her republican institutions into an ever more absolute imperial bureaucracy and tried to adapt her military to defend her borders against relentless barbarian incursions. We will see the Emperor Diocletian's fruitless attempts to legislate away inflation and study the rise of mystery religions and Christianity embraced by an increasingly anxious populace whom imperial paganism had left spiritually and morally adrift.

The Amendments of the Constitution of the United States: Past, Present, and Future

Amendments to the U.S. Constitution have defined and reshaped the foundation of American government. This class will explore the seventeen amendments that followed the Bill of Rights, exploring the historic significance of each. How have these amendments impacted constitutional law in America and its effect on the country's citizens? The class will also examine the six proposed amendments that failed after being sent to the states.

Wednesday noon - 3:15 p.m.

The Films of Billy Wilder

Billy Wilder wrote 81 films and directed 28, including such classics as Lost Weekend, Sunset Boulevard, Stalag 17, The Seven Year Itch, Some Like it Hot, and The Front Page. His movies featured such stars as Ray Milland, William Holden, Gloria Swanson, James Stewart, Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, James Cagney, and Walter Matthau along with great supporting casts. Let's watch and discuss several of these great films.

Wednesday 1:15 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.

Women of the Wild West

The 19th century western frontier offered women unprecedented opportunities for independence and personal freedom. The West was populated by women who were courageous, independent, and enterprising. They took advantage of opportunities and charted their own course in life. Many brought values that civilized the West and allowed communities to thrive, such as the wives and mothers and the schoolmarm. Other women gave full reign to their innate abilities and sense of adventure and became entrepreneurs, landowners, ranchers, professional gamblers, madams, and gold prospectors. It was a rough life that required courage and determination. Some were crushed by the experience but many survived and more than a few thrived. We will study the roles these women filled as well the fascinating individuals who made their mark.

Thursday 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Catch 22

We will read and discuss Joseph Heller's classic World War II anti-war novel about life in a bomber squadron on a small Mediterranean island. While the novel is fiction (well, almost), it is based on the author's actual wartime experiences. This satire focuses on the absurdity of war, describing events from points of view of different characters. Join us as we read about how the airmen on the island attempt to maintain their sanity in an insane world.

Government Cover-ups

Using the Craig Roberts' book Medusa File, we will explore secrets hidden at the highest levels of government about which you are not supposed to know. From the 1940 to this day, power brokers, working from their positions of trust, have committed and then covered up a variety of nefarious activities. Possible topics for discussion include secret drug and bacteriological weapons experiments on the American population, atomic human guinea pigs, Agent Orange, the Gulf War Syndrome, International assassinations, drug smuggling and money laundering, and much more.

Thursday 1:15 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.

History of the United Kingdom from The Norman conquest (1066) to the War of the Roses (1485)

Britain's history is truly a real life Game of Thrones, full of fascinating stories about events that changed the course of history. We will approach the subject chronologically through the reigns of influential monarchs and their impact on the social and political history of Great Britain. We will cover the period from the Norman Conquest (1066) to the end of The War of the Roses (1485). This period saw the reign of some colorful monarchs including Henry II and his queen, Elenore of Aquitaine, Edward I, Richard II, and Henry V. It was also the time of major historical events, including The Magna Carta, the Black Death, and the development of the English Language. Join us as we explore this fascinating period in history.

The World's Greatest Mysteries

We all love a good mystery and in fiction, these puzzling tales often provide satisfying resolutions, but the real world is filled with vague and unsettling ambiguities. This class will delve into the gray area of actual people and events as we attempt to shine a light on the world's most interesting enigmas. Some fascinating and mystifying tales for us to examine are Stonehenge, the Holy Grail, the Shroud of Turin, Nasca Lines, King Arthur, the statues of Easter Island, Jack the Ripper, Amelia Earhart, the Bermuda Triangle, Area 51, the Black Dahlia Murder, JFK's Assassination, the Zodiac Killer, Jimmy Hoffa, and many, many more.


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