Exercise Class

Spring 2017 schedule

Registration will take place at the Town Meeting on Wednesday, March 8, 10 a.m. in Lydon Library, Multi-Purpose Room 110, 84 University Ave, Lowell MA 01854

The 2017 Spring Study Groups will meet on campus at University Suites, Room 106A, 327 Aiken Street, Lowell.

Parking for on campus programs is in the garage directly across the street from the Rec Center, in the Perkins Parking lot and in the parking lot at the Tsongas Arena. Your ID is needed to enter the garage and the Perkins lot. Please use your parking hangtags wherever you park.

Location of classes will sometimes change so watch for announcements.


All Upside Down: America 1968 to President Nixon’s Helicopter Ride
Six Mondays, 10-Noon: March 20, 27, April 3, 10, 24, May 1

In the ‘new world order’ we find ourselves living in, looking back on the 1960s and early 1970s, and more specifically the period from 1968 through President Richard Nixon’s resignation introduces us to a period of American history where everything seemed as upside down as it does in 2017. Historian Michael Kazin describes the 1960s this way: “One of the things that made the sixties somewhat different form other periods of rebellion in American history is that everything seemed to be up for grabs. All perceived authority was suspect for people who were rebelling. That meant that authorities representing gender and race, media, politics, and business were all seen as being on the wrong side of morality and history by people who saw themselves as rebels. There was general agreement that the whole system was a fault.” We will take a deep dive into this period for several weeks and throughout try to figure out how the political, social, and cultural changes of the period continue resonating today.
Presenter: Professor Bob Forrant Coordinator: Terri Munson*

Everything You Wanted to Know About Your Memory: But Could Not Remember to Ask!
Five Mondays, 1–3 p.m.: March 20, 27, April 3, 24, May 1

More recently than ever before, every person I know is asking questions about “Memory". Are my "senior moments" a normal part of my aging; or should I be worried about it? How does one know when forgetting is "normal for my age?"

  • When I forget where my keys are, or where my car is parked; or my best friend's name- should I be concerned?
  • Why are my "old memories" so much better than my "recent ones"?
  • What if I put my keys into the refrigerator; then should I be ready to downsize quickly?
  • Who can I go to for that "memory test" to find out if I'm ok? What is Alzheimer's and why do so many people have it? Are there things I can do to keep my brain alive, while losing my mind!!!!????
  • All of these questions-and yours as well- will be addressed; so, please bring your refreshment monies and REMEMBER TO COME!

Facilitator: Arnold Kerzner*
Coordinator: Terri Munson*


Shakespeare: "As You Like It"
Eight Tuesdays, 10-Noon: March 14, 21, 28 April 4, 11, 18, 25 and May 2

The Shakespeare class will be reading and studying "As You Like It" this spring. This play was first performed in 1600, but was not printed until the appearance of the Folio of 1623. The Bard used much of the plot from a prose romance, or novel, entitled "Rosalynde" dating from 1590 written by Thomas Lodge. However, the comic parts of Touchstone, Audrey, William and Jacques are Shakespeare's creations which turn an artificial romance into a play of enduring charm. The plot can be most confusing at times and at one point the Elizabethan audience must have enjoyed watching a boy actor who was playing Rosalind disguised as a boy because of course, as you may know, girls were not allowed to act on the stage in those years. In this play are several short songs which many people have seen and enjoyed because they have all been reproduced in poetry anthologies over the years. They are in context, however, sparkling jewels in this play. Those songs were once sung on the stage, but the music has disappeared.

Everyone welcome but you will need a book. I recommend Folgers edition of the play in an individual text which has copious notes beside each line.
Facilitator: Frank Carroll*
Coordinator: Terri Munson*

What’s So Funny About “Hamlet”????
Four Tuesdays, 1-3 p.m.: March 14, 21, 28 April 4

While Shakespeare’s most famous tragedies make us cry, they also make us laugh. Sometimes the funny lines, characters, or action even turn the play upside down temporarily. And sometimes, the words or characters that make us laugh actually bestow great wisdom. This class will explore the types, purposes, and effects of the comedic aspects and comic relief in Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, and King Lear. Be prepared to laugh and cry as we go behind the scenes of the great tragedies in search of comedy.
Presenter: Patti McWeeney Coordinator: Toby Hodes*

The United States Constitution: Its Origins and Meaning
Four Tuesdays, 1-3 p.m.: April 11, 18, 25 and May 2

This four-week class will go through the actual document approved in 1787, and, all 27 amendments ratified in the last 230 years. We will then look at specific cases decided by the Supreme Court, interpreting the Constitution, and talk about the content and the differing approaches to interpretation taken by the court. With the US Senate going through an appointment and nomination of a new Supreme Court justice, this class offers an excellent opportunity to examine our governing document.
Presenter: Professor Frank Talty Coordinator: Nancy Pitkin*


Art and Music

  • Six Wednesdays, March 15, 22, 29, April 5, 12 and May 3
  • One Thursday, April 20, Boston Symphony Open Rehearsal
  • One Friday, April 28, UMass Lowell Students – The Hawkapellas

See the separate schedule for Art & Music.


Great Decisions

  • Eight sessions 7 Thursdays, 10 a.m - Noon: March 16, 23, 30, April 6, 13, 27, and May 4
  • One Wednesday, 10 a.m. - Noon: April 19

Great Decisions is America's largest discussion program on world affairs. The program model involves reading the Great Decisions Briefing Book, watching the DVD and meeting in a Discussion Group to discuss the most critical global issues facing America today. Two weekly two-hour sessions explore each topic in depth. 2017 is a time of dramatic change with Britain leaving the EU, populism and nationalism in Europe, and Trump policies on trade, NATO, Russia, and China. Great Decisions topics for the spring are: Trade Policy, South China Sea, Energy Geopolitics, and Saudi Arabia.
Briefing books are available for $20.00.
Facilitator: Richard Grove*


  • Eight Sessions: 7 Thursdays, 1-3 p.m. March 16, 23, 30, April 6, 13, 27, and May 4
  • One Wednesday, 1-3 p.m. April 19

Based on The Great Courses’ 24-lesson series, but tailored by LIRA members to our interests—not all DVDs and talking heads, either! Our course introduces some of the basic concepts of the burgeoning field of robotics and explores the industry and the technology’s implications. We’ll lecture, watch, discuss—and experiment hands-on.
Presenters: Peter Sebelius*, Skip Youngberg*, and Russ MacLeod*
Facilitator: Skip Youngberg*


Book Discussion

Do you like to read fiction or perhaps the classics, or are biographies your preference? Perhaps, you are an aficionado of non-fiction. Whatever your genre preference, guaranteed sometime during the year the book group will read and discuss an example thereof. And what is more inviting to a passionate reader than an opportunity to discuss a book - like it or hate it – with other like-minded people? Our discussions are always lively, interesting, and varied, and a new point of view is always welcome.

  • Four Fridays 10 a.m. - Noon
    • March 17 "Homegoing" by Yaa Gyasi, Fiction
    • April 21 "It Can’t Happen Here" by Sinclair Lewis, Fiction
    • May 19 "The Story of a New Name" by Elena Ferrante, Fiction
    • Date to be Determined: June "Our Kids" by Robert Putnam, non-fiction

Facilitator: Toby Hodes*

*Indicates a LIRA member.