Film: History and Impact of Film Noir

Presenter: Brittney Brown, English Department

Class Dates: Thursdays, February 20 - March 5*

Note: *Class will not meet February 20

Class Time: 110:30 - noon

Class Location: PHF Conference Center | 655 Research Pkwy, Kairos Classroom

Class Cost: $45

Class Description:  ilm noir, a crime genre with a distinctive black and white style, appeared mostly in America for only about 20 years in the mid-twentieth century, but it has had lasting impact on American film and television ever since. From Double Indemnity (1944) to Strangers On A Train (1951), it engaged with some of the most important questions of modernity right after the Great Depression and into the postwar years. We will study film style, literary adaptations, influences on modern films, and more to explore why film noir still resonates with audiences today. 

Politics: The News:  Fake, Real, Unreal or Something In Between

Presenter: Cal Hobson

Class Dates: Thursdays, April 16 - May 7

Class Time: 1 - 3:30 p.m.

Class Location: PHF Conference Center | 655 Research Parkway OKC, Symposium Room

Class Cost: $45

Class Description: As New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan liked to say, "everybody has a right to their own opinions; just not their own facts".  However, in an increasingly contentious, dangerous and divided world the lines between the two - opinions and facts - are easily blurred and thus fraught with confusion and misunderstanding. That's why many of us prefer to live in H. L. Mencken's world where he confidently observed that "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong".  Answers like:  Yes or no.  Go or stop.  You are with us or against us.  CNN versus FOX, CSPAN be damned.  Those appear to be our options.

The opposite circumstances, however, are found in the real world and are described with such words or phrases as:  Maybe, yellow caution light, can we negotiate.  Those are words of moderation, middle of the road, compromise and therefore are out of style or popularity.  Get to the left or to the right but for sure get the hell out of the middle!  That's where skunks and politicians get run over and for news outlets rating points are few and far between there. 

Things are complicated these days.  Nine brilliant lawyers sit on our Supreme Court and often they split 5 to 4 on the critical issues of the day.  The Congress is almost devoid of middle men, and women, the type who previously were counted on to patch together workable solutions.  Henry Clay comes to mind.  The term "my way or the highway" is not just a clever, directional dictum; rather, it has become a mandate, enforced with vigor by the party in power but what results when both parties have power as is the situation right now?  Stalemate,  stagnation, finger pointing, endless campaigning and funding raising all take center stage.

The media, the news itself, is no longer just three middle aged white men, uttering almost the exact language to us and at the same time.  Thirty years ago it was the 6PM segment of ABC, CBS or NBC  conveying solemnly what happened earlier in the day.  No, now there are thousands of outlets, sharing the truth as they see it and each attracting only followers who mostly agree with them.  

These days where do we get our news?  Who do we trust?  How much of it do we want, in what format, through which mediums?  Is it still used car dealers and political hacks at the bottom of the trust meter with the clergy at the top?  Maybe not especially if you are Catholic. 

Let's get together this coming spring to talk, listen and look.  We'll hear from wise men, and of course wise women, word smiths and TV talking heads, spin doctors, voices perfect only for radio and faces  best displayed on internet videos.  Do we know anymore the difference between babble and brilliance; propaganda versus piety?

Thomas Jefferson did.  He wrote in 1787 "Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter".

Nothing fake about that.

Science: Geologic Processes that Impact Earth History and Humans: Plate Tectonics, Volcanoes, Earthquakes, Tsunamis, and Glaciers

Presenter: Ken Johnson, Geologist Emeritus, Oklahoma Geological Survey

Class Dates: Thursdays, March 12 - April 9* 

Note: *Class will not meet March 19.

Class Time: 10 - 11:30 a.m.

Class Location: PHF Conference Center | 655 Research Parkway OKC, Kairos Classroom

Class Cost: $45

Class Description: This Senior Seminar includes presentations on four of the geologic processes that have had, and will have, major impacts upon life on Earth.  Non-technical discussions, illustrated with many beautiful slides—and a bit of humor—are well-suited for the interested layperson.  Come and learn more about major geologic processes, and how they have impacted Earth history and Oklahoma—this seminar is an update of presentations given at OLLI in 2014.

Plate Tectonics, the driving force of our dynamic Earth, entails the movement of seven large plates and a number of smaller plates of the Earth’s crust at speeds of about one to two inches per year. These crustal movements, well-documented since the early 1960s, explain the location and intensity of most of Earth’s volcanoes, earthquakes, and tsunamis. 

Volcanoes are openings in the Earth's crust that allow molten rock (lava), volcanic ash, and gases to escape to the surface. The Earth currently has about 1,500 “active” volcanoes (activity within the past 10,000 years), and almost all of them are located along, or near, the tectonic- plate boundaries. The United States has more than 150 active volcanoes, mostly in Alaska and to a lesser extent in the western third of the lower forty-eight states.

Earthquakes and Tsunamis are the most devastating of Earth processes. Most large earthquakes occur at tectonic-plate boundaries, and are triggered by movement of plates past or under each other. Earthquakes that occur beneath the oceans, or in coastal areas, can generate tsunamis when large masses of the earth are thrust up (or down) and trigger displacement of large volumes of water. Waves created by water displacement move across the ocean at about 500 miles/hour and then surge over coastal areas.

Glaciers, Fjords, and Icebergs, how they form, and the landforms they create.  Most common in the polar regions, and in many mountain areas throughout the World, vast ice sheets and glaciers cover about 10% of Earth’s land area.  While “flowing” slowly from higher to lower elevations, glaciers have ground away at the underlying Earth and have sculpted the landscape of much of the World today.

Politics: U.S. Presidents and Intelligence

Presenter: Chris Sartorius, Department of International and Area Studies

Class Dates: Mondays, April 6 - 27

Class Time: 1:30 - 3:30 p.m.

Class Location: PHF Conference Center | 655 Research Pkwy, Symposium Classroom

Class Cost: $45

Class Description: This course will examine how presidents use foreign intelligence to formulate national security strategy, pursue US foreign and defense policy objectives, and manage crises.  The President of the United States is the ultimate intelligence consumer.  Each president has exhibited his own style for consuming information.  As you might expect, some presidents have used intelligence better than others to formulate wise, sound policies in pursuit of US interests around the world.  This course will examine how the US Intelligence Community produces and presents intelligence to presidents and how receptive the president and other senior decision makers were to that information.  We will concentrate on the historical era from the end of World War II to the present day, the period in which our modern Intelligence Community was created and during which it has evolved into the most effective, capable intelligence organization in the world.

History: Women in Prison

Presenter: Joe Bogan, PhD, Retired Federal Prison Warden

Class Dates: Fridays, April 17 - May 15 

Class Time: 10 - 11:30 a.m..

Class Location: PHF Conference Center | 655 Research Parkway OKC, Kairos Classroom

Class Cost: $45

Class Description: Though crime is an overwhelmingly male phenomenon, women account for about 7% of prison inmates in the United States today, or about 110,000 women.  This course will explore gender differences with regard to crimes committed, sentences received, response to the punishment of imprisonment, and rehabilitation of women.  In terms of sentencing, the dysfunction of our current systems will be explored.  I will present theoretical views and research results on the relevant issues.  What the experience of prison is actually like for inmates will be presented in granular detail.  Conversely, I will talk about what it is like to work with incarcerated women, from my point of view as a former prison warden.  The idea that offenders should be incarcerated "AS punishment and not FOR punishment" will be explored.  What programs are helpful to women offenders will be examined. As importantly, I will integrate the stories of individual women in prison to illustrate the issues involved.  

History: Oklahoma City - Why We Are the Way We Are

Presenter: Mike Adams

Class Dates: Wednesdays, February 5 - March 4

Class Time: 1 - 3 p.m.

Class Location: PHF Conference Center | 655 Research Parkway OKC, Kairos Classroom

Class Cost: $45

Class Description: The history of Oklahoma City is short and chaotic.  Since its bizarre founding in 1889, Oklahoma City has overcome natural and man-made disasters, economic turmoil, and civil unrest always rebounding to build a better city and quality of life.  Join a series of guest speakers as we dive into a few seminal events/periods that have molded Oklahoma City and defined the city’s DNA.  

1889 – The Story of Oklahoma City’s Birth – On April 22, 1889, Oklahoma City sprang to life when 10,000 citizens rushed in to stake their claim to a town lot in Oklahoma Station.  No other city can pinpoint the exact date and hour of its origin and no other city’s origin is so well documented in newsprint and photos.  Dr. Bob Blackburn, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Historical Society and Chuck Wiggins, founder and sponsor of the ‘89er Trail in downtown Oklahoma City will discuss the Boomer movement, the 1889 Land Run and the early, hectic days in Oklahoma City.

Gusher! – The Oklahoma City Oil Field is one of the world’s giant petroleum fields and its discovery in 1928 and development within an urban area caused immediate friction.  In this session we hear about the early oil boom – the Wild Mary Sudik, development of the Oklahoma City oil field, and the impact of discovery of oil on OKC’s economy, growth, and identity.  Dr. Paul Lambert, historian and author of several books on oil and gas history, will discuss this influential period in Oklahoma City’s development.

Civil Rights - When most people think of the civil rights era, they think of events that happened in the South.  However, events of national importance to civil rights movement happened right here in Oklahoma City.  We will join attorney and historian Bob Burke as we explore the atrocities, the long fought struggles, and the victories of the civil rights era in Oklahoma City in order to understand our culture and our laws today.

Oklahoma City: The Boom, the Bust and the Bomb – “When it seemed like things couldn’t get worse, they got worse.” Oklahoma City: The Boom, the Bust and the Bomb is a story like no other.  It covers the period from the oil boom of the 1970’s to the failure of Penn Square Bank in 1982 to the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in 1995… and the people who refused to give up.  Former Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett produced, wrote and directed this documentary.  He will provide free copies of the movie to each participant to view before he joins us to explore how Oklahoma City’s turbulent past helped shape its bright, flourishing future.

Big League City – Brian Byrnes, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing for the Oklahoma City Thunder will share the fascinating story behind the transformative moment when the NBA came to Oklahoma City, elevating it to a "big league city." Brian has been with the Thunder organization since it was in Seattle and was the first employee ‘on the ground’ when they relocated to OKC, giving him a unique opportunity to observe how a singular series of serendipitous events paired with a remarkably unified effort of a group of perceptive investors, community leaders and city staff brought the dream of NBA basketball to Oklahoma City.

Politics: The 2020 Elections in our Painfully Divided U.S. of A.

Presenter: Cal Hobson

Class Dates: Thursdays, February 20 - March 12

Class Time: 1 - 3:30 p.m.

Class Location: PHF Conference Center | 655 Research Pkwy OKC, Symposium Room

Class Cost: $45

Class Description: It seems only yesterday that I had the opportunity to lead an OLLI class concerning the 2016 presidential elections.  As many will remember the smart money, not to mention pollsters, pundits, politicians and much of the public seemed confident that America would elect its first female commander-in-chief, Hillary Clinton.  It was expected she would handily dispatch real estate developer, game show host and multi-billionaire Donald Trump.

However, just like the unsinkable luxury liner Titanic, Secretary of State Clinton got sunk and our world has certainly been a wild and wooly place ever since.  Enemies have become friends and friends enemies.  A tweet by Trump on a Tuesday can be contradicted on Wednesday, or earlier, and no one blushes, least of all the President.  Little Rocket Man is now in a love affair with The Trumpster while master manipulator Vlad Putin jokes, or not, that Russia will be manipulating our elections again in 2020.

Trade sanctions are imposed - willy nilly - and subpoenas are more plentiful in DC than lobbyists, but not as fun or helpful.  This year the Democrats have fifteen plus candidates for president.  The Republicans offer only one real one, just the opposite of four years ago and of course records will be smashed for campaign money given, raised and spent.  Some of it will be green; most of it dar.  Oh, and then there is the issue of impeachment.

So, with all of that in mind, the three following seminars are offered for your consideration.

Spring OLLI course.  The Iowa Democratic caucus February 3rd to Super Tuesday March 3rd.

Summer OLLI course.  Later caucuses through the party conventions - Democrats in Milwaukee, Wisconsin July 13-16 and Republicans in Charlotte, North Carolina August 13-16.

Fall OLLI course.  A sprint to the finish on election night, November 3rd, 2020.

Along with my frequently biased commentary we will have a plethora of speakers, videos and handouts that will reflect the diversity, opinions and priorities of the two major parties and, as time allows, also mix in a dash of third party thoughts.

Ready or not, want to or not, here comes the most important presidential election in our nation's history….or maybe not!