OLLI at UNC Asheville Observer--
Cabin Fever Edition
March 18, 2020  
ATTENTION:  When the newsletter is full of news and is longer, it automatically truncates at the bottom.  To see the entire newsletter, click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter that reads- [Message clipped]   View entire message
In This Issue
What Can I Do to Help?

Members of OLLI for the most part fall in the demographic of people who are most vulnerable to the ill effects of COVID-19. (As the headline in the "Wall Street Journal" reads "Coronavirus Has Boomers Asking: Who Are You Calling Elderly?: With older populations most at risk, baby boomers are dealing with the idea that maybe 60 isn't the new 40 after all"). In good times and bad, however, our members want to use their resources to make Asheville and Western North Carolina a better place to live.  

OLLI's Civic Engagement Committee works throughout the year to gather OLLI members interested in addressing issues of food insecurity, education, and housing and homelessness.  Committee Chair Kathleen Mainardi writes,

As we shelter at home and fill our Covid-19 pantry, let us remember those in our community who do not have the same resources available to them.  The ABCCM Crisis Ministry needs volunteer help to support the most vulnerable in our community.  The Civic Engagement Committee works with ABCCM at the Veterans Restoration Quarters (VRQ) and serving lunch at the Crisis Ministry Kitchen.  The Crisis Ministry Kitchen and Pantry provides a hot meal and food boxes to those in need.  We also have an outreach with MANNA.  Our volunteers sort and repackage food from pallets or bulk food into packages appropriate for individual familie s , schoolchildren for weekend meals, or distribution to food kitchens in WNC.
If you know someone who is not in a high risk demographic who would be interested in serving a hot meal at the Veterans Restoration Quarters, please contact Deana Murchison at OlliVRQ@calfrog.com.  The volunteer shift at the Crisis Ministry Kitchen is every Monday from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Please get in contact Mary Ziebart at ollicrisisministry@yahoo.com .
MANNA also needs volunteers, and I would ask that you pass the word to any low-risk people you know who wish to help.  Click here to learn the latest on how to contribute to MANNA's efforts to respond to COVID-19.


As we take care of our family, we cannot forget our neighbors who live paycheck to paycheck and have to make difficult choices between food, rent, healthcare and more."  

Business, Law and Finance

Were you looking forward to Stan Ingber's course "The Rights of Defendants: Analyzing the Warren Court"? Have you enjoyed Ben Gilbert's courses like "Freedom of the Press," or "Landmark Supreme Court Decisions"? You might enjoy the radio show and podcast "Your Weekly Constitutional."

This content from PRX " is a public radio show and podcast that focuses upon interesting and controversial issues in constitutional law, from gay rights to gun rights. . . . [It] features interviews with knowledgeable lawyers, scholars, and others about current and historical topics, including church-state relations, states' rights, and even the constitutionality of secession."
Health and Fitness
Elizabeth Pavka
College for Seniors Instructor Elizabeth Pavka  passes along some suggestions for supporting a healthy immune system.

If you were looking forward to Bonnie Wheeler's Plant-Based Cuising Around the World, you might want to check out this article from "Market Watch" on how to prepare a "healthy pandemic pantry."

Of course, all decisions about health and wellness should be made in consultation with the appropriate advice of your health care provider.


Did you enjoy courses on Appalachia in our Fall 2019 term? Check out  HeardTell: Stories from the North Carolina Room at Pack Memorial Library.  Remember that the Buncombe County Public Libraries offer a  wide range of online resources.  NCLive is a treasure trove if you have a Buncombe County Public Library card. 

If you want to know more, you may want to read The Hidden History of Asheville. T he staff and volunteers of the North Carolina Room at Pack Memorial library have unearthed stories of Asheville past. The book is available from online sellers.

Languages, Literature and Writing
Author Wiley Cash

Western North Carolina is full of great writers, past and present, and we have offered many courses over the years exploring this heritage. We are particularly proud of UNC Asheville alumni Wiley Cash and Terry Roberts who are carrying on the Appalachian literary tradition. 

 If you haven't had a chance, you may want to check out Wiley's website. We are particularly grateful for his Open Canon and now Corona Canon online book clubs.  In Summer 2014, I had a great time teaching his debut novel A Land More Kind Than Home in "The Literature of Madison County." The novel is a haunting evocation of life in rural North Carolina and the challenge of doing the right thing.
Author Terry Roberts

Click here to visit Terry Roberts' website.In the same course on Madison County, I taught Roberts' novel  A Short Time to Stay Here, about a World War I internment camp in Hot Springs.  It's a fascinating depiction of our history.

And we are working with the Wilma Dykeman Legacy to create our own Asheville  Decameron. Giovanni Boccaccio's 14th century collection of novellas has a "frame story" of seven young women and three young men who are "sheltered in place" in a villa outside Florence to escape the Black Death. It was an important influence on Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and seems relevant to our current predicament. Stay tuned for more details and to learn how to share your story.
Life Transitions

Were you looking forward to Krista Moore's
Technology and Aging? You might want to read this report,  Emerging Technologies to Support an Aging Population. As we are all thinking about technology in new ways during this time of isolation, this report may help you think about new possibilities.  

Author & Activist 
Ashton Applewhite
Take 20 minutes to listen to Ashton Applewhite's TEDTalk titled "Let's End Ageism." Applewhite
 is a dynamic speaker who can help you think differently about what it really means to be older. Applewhite's book This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism reminds us of both external and internalized ageism, a challenging subject in a time when we are reminded that being over 60 is a "pre-existing condition" that puts us at risk.  Appleton's website includes a blog and a space where you can ask "Yo, Is This Ageist?"

Math, Science, and Technology

We are going to miss all of our STEM lectures that Howard Jaslow so carefully arranges.  If you are, too, you might want to investigate BBC World Service's "The Science Hour " that covers a wide range of topics. Many of the episodes currently available address COVID-19, but there are other subjects as well. 
Performing Arts
Queen Bee and the Honey Lovers
If you are a fan of local music, OLLI member Vicki Richards has recommended that you might want to check out  recordings from Echo Mountain Studios, including this one from Queen Bee and the Honey Lovers.

If you are going to miss Pat and Bill Heuermann's
The Met at the Movies,
you will be excited to know that The Metropolitan Opera will be streaming operas online.  
Personal Development

Were you looking forward to Lewis Rothlein's The Art of Solving Crosswords ? Will you miss your weekly Mah Jongg game?  Click here for the AARP's Games page. The site features over 1000 puzzles of varying levels of difficulty and has a way to register and compete against other online players. 
Staying Connected in an Age of Social Distance
Our top priority is the health, well-being, and safety of our community. We have canceled our Spring 2020 courses and sent an email earlier today with information about credits, refunds, and donations to everyone who has registered for the Spring 2020 term. We are suspending all gatherings at the Reuter Center (including SIGs, lectures by community partners, rehearsals for the Reuter Center Singers, and committee meetings).

We are all trying to "flatten the curve" and minimize contact with potential infection. We want to make sure that our health care system maintains the capacity to offer treatment for those most in need. But we also know that isolation and loneliness can have negative health impacts as harmful as the impacts of obesity or smoking.  So we want to do what we can to help OLLI members and friends feel a little more connected.

Priya Parker, author of   "The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters,"  has an opinion piece in the NY Times titled "How to Be Together Apart in the Time of Coronavirus."   We hope that by sharing content and stories in this newsletter that we can use technology to be "together apart."   Here at OLLI, we recognize that we have always prided ourselves on offering opportunities for people to gather together and think big thoughts. How do we keep that spirit when gathering together is no longer safe? We are working to expand our capacity to create a sense of community in a virtual environment.

In the Wednesday OLLI at UNC Asheville Observer Cabin Fever Edition series we will provide you with content that helps you to keep learning and to share ideas for staying healthy and connected.  We will begin by offering some curated examples of online content that complements our curriculum and other offerings. For this first edition, I have created the content, just because I wanted to get something to you.  It is limited by my interests and by the amount of time I could devote to it. We have a link in this newsletter for you to make suggestions so that we can offer varied content in later editions. As our staff emerges from canceling the term and adjusting to working from home, we plan to offer some more original content and perhaps to experiment with some online platforms. We have decided against trying to move quickly to online presentation of content, but we welcome ideas and suggestions about what we might do. And we hope to offer some easy and free ways for you to set up your own groups, if you are missing your SIGs or committees.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we manage the unprecedented impact of COVID-19.  We miss you and look forward to the time we can be together again.

Catherine Frank
Executive Director
How are you using your social distance time?
"Alone Time with 'Wake'" by BeBe Landis

OLLI member BeBe Landis made my week (maybe my year) by sharing what she is doing with her social distance time. Click here to read her full list. She refers to the many OLLI classes that continue to inspire her, reminding me that OLLI doesn't begin and end at the boundaries of the Reuter Center but for our most committed members is a way of life. The photo above is Mel Chin's "Wake" which was fabricated in UNC Asheville's STEAM Studio working with MacArthur Genius Award Winner Mel Chin. The work was  initially installed in Times Square and is now installed  in Asheville's South Slope. 

To all the instructors who inspired BeBe and all the members who enrich our lives together, I so look forward to hearing more about the ways you are spending your time.  To preserve our own health and the health and safety of the people around us, we are apart. I know, however, we can still find novel ways to be together.

Send us your favorite podcasts and online resources! 

We will send out regular emails while our planned activities are suspended and provide links to resources to encourage you to continue learning and satisfying your intellectual curiosity. We can use your help. Send us your favorite podcasts or other fun shareable media. 

Social Sciences
We had a wide range of courses planned in our social sciences curriculum this spring. I find myself listening with interest to the NPR program "Hidden Brain: A Conversation about Life's Unseen Patterns"  with Shankar Vedantam. On the website the program is described in the following way:
"Hidden Brain helps  curious people understand the world - and themselves. Using science and storytelling, Hidden Brain reveals the unconscious patterns that drive human behavior, and the biases that shape our choices.

"Our audience takes uncommon pleasure in the world of ideas. How do children come to love spicy foods? Why do religions exist? What's the best way to get people to be honest on their taxes? Hidden Brain explores questions like these that lie at the very heart of a complex and changing society.

 ". . . . 'Hidden Brain' links research from psychology and neurobiology with findings from economics, anthropology, and sociology, among other fields. The goal of Hidden Brain isn't merely to entertain, but to give you insights to apply at work, at home and throughout your life."

Visual Arts

Were you looking forward to Ari Landau's  A Docent's Journey:
Interior of the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg
Russia's Golden Age of Artists and Composers? You might be interested in 
article from Travel and Leisure that lists 12 museums that offer "virtual tours" of their collections.

And if you were interested in Bill LaRocque's Drawn and Quartered: An Historical and Artistic Overview of Political Cartooning, you will enjoy this cartoon that he has shared. What a welcome reminder of the great talent and sense of humor so abundant in our members.
Cartoon by Bill LaRocque

Religion and Philosophy

Some of you may have heard Krista Tippett in 2016 when she interviewed poet Marilyn Nelson and author Isabel Wilkerson on the UNC Asheville campus as part of the Faith in Literature conference (and if you are looking for great reads, try Nelson's  How I Discovered Poetry and Wilkerson's
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration). I look forward every Sunday morning to Tippet's conversations about a wide range of spiritual issues.  Click here to listen to On Being podcasts.
OLLIChat Needs Your Help
Nearly 375 OLLI members have signed up for the OLLIChat community bulletin board. This volunteer-run group needs additional moderators to keep the flow of requests and responses (questions and answers) flowing smoothly. We provide training so you can work from home one hour a day for one week/month. Please email   ollichatavl@gmail.com   an d one of our volunteers   will   respond.

Join OLLIChat, the replacement for OLLITalk. 

It's free for all 2019-20 OLLI members and easy to use. It's also a great way to stay connected as we are all trying to find ways to manage unprecedented challenges.

OLLIChat is an online community where OLLI at UNC Asheville  members may share information of common interest with each other. It is designed to look and function like the old OLLITalk.
To get started, send an email to  OLLIChatAVL@gmail.com, and the OLLIChat volunteers will send you an invitation. 
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute | 828-251-6140 | olli@unca.edu | http://www.olliasheville.com
Reuter Center, CPO #5000
UNC Asheville
One University Heights
Asheville, NC 28804