Monthly Archives: August 2013

Parisian Culture in Literature and the Visual Arts

August 27, 2013
“A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of Life.” - Thomas Jefferson
   In her September 9th class, Anna Tachinci will focus on works devoted to Paris in 19th and 20th century literature by studying literary excerpts by Hugo, Baudelaire, Balzac, Zola, Apollinaire, Proust, Breton, Queneau, and Duras.  She will bring in artworks of the same period (architecture, painting, sculpture, decorative arts, photography, and film) in the context of Parisian museums and culture. We recently sat down with Ms. Tahinci to discuss her upcoming class. (Image above: Gustave Caillebotte, Paris Street; Rainy Day)
WIH Reporter: What is important to know about your class?

Tahinci: During this six-week class we will be using the City of Lights as our unique text. We will learn to interpret artworks devoted to Paris both in literature and the visual arts of the 19th and the 20th centuries. As we will be walking through the city – virtually, visually and textually – we will trace the history and culture of France in Paris. We will learn not only how to engage critically with and interpret textual and visual material, but also how to read and analyze the physical space surrounding us. In combining methods of reading literature, visual arts and architecture, we will learn how to interpret art across disciplines. We will also critically address the question of how the culture and history that surround us are constructed by the critical choices that we make in the way we observe them.

WIH Reporter: What things would surprise us to know about the City of Lights?

Tahinci: The City of Lights was inhabited since 250 BCE by people from Celtic Gaule: it was the city of Lucotecia (Lutecia), the Lutèce of the Romans. The site was chosen because of the importance of the Seine river, for access to water and commercial activities.

WIH Reporter: What is the biggest misconception we have about Paris?

Tahinci: There are plenty of stereotypes and urban legends about Paris and the Parisians, mostly due to cultural differences. Americans often consider Paris as the most romantic city in the world and there are indeed plenty of reasons to consider this city highly romantic. But Paris is most importantly a truly historical city full of beauty and we will learn how to decipher this beauty in artworks of the 19th and 20thcenturies.

WIH Reporter: What media will you use in your class?

Tahinci: The fully illustrated lectures will be accompanied by a selection of readings written by the most prominent French authors: Victor Hugo, Charles Baudelaire, Honoré de Balzac, Emile Zola, Guillaume Apollinaire, Marcel Proust, André Breton. We will analyze artworks of the same period—architecture, painting, sculpture, decorative arts, photography, and film—in the context of such Parisian museums as the Musée de la Vie Romantique, Musée Victor Hugo, Maison de Balzac, Musée d’Orsay, and Centre Georges Pompidou. A selection of movies, such as Midnight in Paris, will also be included.

This 6-week class will take place on Sept. 9th from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. For more information, or to register, click here.

How Much Do You Know About…Ancient Egypt?

August 27, 2013

1. Cleopatra was:

A. Egyptian.
B. Greek Macedonian.
C. Jordanian.

2. The pyramids were built by:

A. Slaves
B. Israelites.
C. Paid workers.

 3. In order to stop incessant flies from landing on him, one Pharaoh:

A. Never went outdoors.
B. Had honey smeared on slaves near him.
C. Created an effective bug killing substance.

4. Early Egyptian medical innovations included:

A. Treating infections with moldy bread.
B. Using copper to disinfect wounds.
C. Sewing wounds with needle and thread.
D. All of the above.

5. Egyptian children wore:

A. No clothing at all.
B. Body makeup.
C. Robes, like their parents.

6. A Pharaoh’s hair was:

A. Braided by slaves daily.
B. Oiled and scented by slaves daily.
C. Never seen.


1. B – Cleopatra was Greek Macedonian. Although she was born in Alexandra, she was descended from Ptolemy I, one of Alexander the Great’s lieutenants. The Ptolemaic Dynasty ruled Egypt for 275 years, from 305 BC to 30 BC, and retained their Greek heritage. Cleopatra was one of the first members of this dynasty to speak the Egyptian language.

2. C – Evidence points to the fact that pyramids were build by paid workers. The workers who built the pyramids ate meat and worked in three-month shifts. Although paid, their labor was extremely hard as shown by their bone damage.

3. B - In order to stop flies from landing on him, Pepi II of Egypt always kept several naked slaves nearby whose bodies were smeared with honey.

4. D – All of the above. In early Egyptian medicine infections were treated with moldy bread which has antibiotic properties. They used copper as a disinfectant for wounds, performed autopsies and surgeries, and more.

5. A – Due to the high temperatures, Egyptian children wore no clothes until they were in their teens.

6. C - A Pharaoh never allowed his hair be seen. A crown or headdress was worn instead.

A Guided Tour of Ancient Egypt: Immerse in the Mystery & Magic

August 27, 2013

Steep yourself in the 5,000 year-old world of ancient Egypt! Participate in a fascinating lecture at WIH and then a guided tour of the new Houston Museum of Natural Science’s 10,000-sq ft Egypt Hall. It’s all happening on Sunday, Sept. 8th, 2 p.m to 6 p.m., as we join renowned speaker and guide Dirk Van Tuerenhout, Anthropology Curator of the museum.

Designed to be a completely immersive experience, this exhibition has been described as the most comprehensive ancient Egypt display in the southwestern United States. From Chiddingstone Castle to Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, Germany’s Roemer und Pelizaeus Museum to Emory University, stunning artifacts have come into Egypt Hall, and numerous items will continue to move through HMNS’ ever-changing yet permanent display.

The preliminary lecture will be held at Women’s Institute of Houston, after which participants will proceed to the Houston Museum of Natural Science. The guided tour begins in Egypt Hall, with a walk along the river Nile, and moves forward into the daily life of ancient Egyptians, with up-close views and explanations of their temples, mummies, sarcophagi, hieroglyphic panels, friezes, and more. The tour then segues into the modern day, with stories of the most exciting discoveries of the 1920s, and the latest technological methods of artifact gathering. Join us for a one-of-a-kind experience!

 For more information, and to sign up, visit the Sunday lecture page by clicking here.  

Living History: The Dead Sea Scrolls

August 27, 2013

The Dead Sea Scrolls are ancient Hebrew scrolls, some of which correspond to sections in the Old Testament, that were accidentally discovered in 1947 by a Bedouin boy in the Judean Desert.  They are approximately two thousand years old, dating from the third century BCE to the first century CE. Most of the scrolls (mainly written on parchment and a few on papyrus) were written in Hebrew, with a smaller number in Aramaic or Greek. In his September 3rd class, Seymour Rossel guides us through the bewildering array of past and present interpretations of these texts.

WIH Reporter: What is important to know about your class?

Rossel: I always like to tell my classes, “Nothing changes as quickly as ancient history.” It has been 65 years since we discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls and in all that time they have provided continued excitement to everyone who loves history, philosophy, religion, and literature. While they were yet hidden in caves and caches, we knew little about how people thought and what people believed for nearly three hundred years leading up to the time of Jesus and the rabbis. Suddenly, we had such an embarrassment of riches for that period that, even now, we are still trying to account for everything we can learn from the scrolls.

WIH Reporter
: What is the biggest misconception we have about the scrolls?

Rossel: The two biggest misconceptions are that (1) the scrolls were found together and (2) they were all scrolls. In the Dead Sea region, 900 actually different texts were found, but they vary from pieces that are one square inch to scrolls that are 9-10 feet long. Most measure in the middle. And they come from eleven different caves, but one cave (we call it Cave 4) gave us 600 fragments of scrolls and some full-length scrolls!

WIH Reporter: What things would surprise us to know about the scrolls?

Rossel: Here is a list:

  • Scrolls are written on various animal skins, on papyrus, and even on copper.
  • Scrolls are in Aramaic, Hebrew, and Greek.
  • The scrolls include copies of every book in the Old Testament except for the Book of Esther.
  • The scrolls also include Aramaic originals of books outside the Bible canon—books we had previously known only from Greek translations.
  • The scrolls are full of experiments—literary experiments, experiments in styles of living, and experiments in religious philosophies.
  • Without containing any material from the New Testament, the scrolls reveal trends that led to the many new forms we find in the New Testament

WIH Reporter: What exciting things do we have to look forward to learn in this class?

Rossel: The biggest mysteries have yet to be solved, so we can offer our opinions freely, even here in Houston at WIH. Who wrote these scrolls? For whom were they written? Who hid these scrolls? Where did they come from? Who gathered them here together? As we study the scrolls together, we can share our own opinions and add our voices to the discussion of the scholars.

This 12-week class begins on Sept. 3rd, and takes place from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. For more information, or to register, click here

4 Smartphone/Tablet Tips & Tricks

August 27, 2013
Liz Weiman’s class, “iWorkshop: Tricks For Smartphones/Tablets & Apps”, shows us how to harness the power of our smartphones/tablets and also introduces us to 30+ of the most essential apps we be using daily on our devices. In advance of her class, she offers us a list of 4 Smartphone/Tablet tips and tricks.

Note: Select devices models may require different methods depending on the version of the operating system.

folder (1)How to Create Folders

Folders are essential to organizing your apps on your Home screen. Here’s how to create folders on both your iPhone/iPad or Android devices. 

 iPhone/iPad: (Note: You need 2 apps to make a folder)

1. Tap and hold one of the apps until the apps start shaking.

2. Drag one of the apps onto the other.

3. Release to create the folder.

Note: You can name the folder, and drag other apps into the folder as long as they are shaking.  

Android devices: (Note: You need 2 apps to make a folder)

1. Tap and hold an app.   

2. Drag one of the apps onto the other.

3. Release to create the folder.

Note: You can name the folder and add other apps to the folder.

How to rearrange the position of icons

It’s easy to swap locations of most of your icons, and even move them to another page. 


1. Tap and hold an app until the icons start shaking.

2. Move the app to a new location with your finger.

Note: To move the icon to a new page, just drag the icon off the screen to the right or left and let it go when the new page displays.

Android devices:

1. Tap and hold any icon on your screen.

2. Drag the icon to a different spot on the screen.

Note: The “All Apps” icon does not change location. You can also drag an icon to the left or right edge of the screen until it starts sliding, then drop the icon to another screen.

How to Capture the Screen


You may need to take a picture of what’s on your screen – maybe an error message, an app screen, or a series of text messages you want to email.


1. Press the Home and Sleep (top-right) buttons at the same time.

2. Go to Photos and open the Camera Roll to find your screenshot.

Android devices:

1. Press and hold the Power and the Volume-Down key at the same time. 
2. Open the Gallery app to see your screenshot saved in the Screenshots album.


How to switch between open apps

In the middle of playing “Words with Friends”, you may want to finish an email or write a quick text message. Most likely, your most-often used apps are already open.   


1. Double press the Home button

2. Tap the icon to reveal the open apps. Swipe to the left to reveal more open apps. 

Android devices:

1. Tap the Recent Apps icon to reveal the apps that you recently opened.
2. Slide down to see more recent apps, and select the displayed app to switch to the open app. 

Note: On select models, you can hold the Home button to reveal recent apps.

This 4-week class begins September 9th, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. For more information, or to register for this class, click here.