Monthly Archives: June 2015

Paris’ Moveable Feast: Artists and Writers from 1830 to 1920

June 29, 2015


“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” – Ernest Hemingway.

In her upcoming class, “A Moveable Feast: A Century of Writers and Artists in Paris”, Professor Anna Tahinci takes us on a tour of Paris between the 1830s through the 1920s and the the artists and writers who flourished. We caught her before she left for her summer trip to Paris.

WIH Reporter: What is important to know about your upcoming class about a century of writers and artists in Paris?

Tahinci: No city has attracted so much literary and artistic talent or produced such a wealth of enduring artistic legacy as Paris. My upcoming class about a century of writers and artists in Paris (from the 1830′s until the Roaring 1920′s) offers a unique opportunity to taste and celebrate great moments in a century of European Art and culture, and enjoy an interlude in a historic Paris that has become a “moveable feast”, a cultural landscape of the mind, to quote Ernest Hemingway.

WIH Reporter: What would surprise us to know about your class?

Tahinci: I first thought about teaching such a class when I watched Woody Allen’s movie “Midnight in Paris”. I got fascinated by the fantasy of traveling back in time and in space to explore how French and expatriate artists got inspired by the City of Lights and I wanted to offer my students at the Women’s Institute an opportunity for weekly virtual journeys and explorations.

WIH Reporter: WIH Reporter: What mistaken impressions might we have about the subject of your class?

Tahinci: This is not only an interdisciplinary class, combining Art History and Comparative Literature, but also an opportunity for virtual visits in time and in space. We will be conducting both visual and verbal analysis and will study a broad selection of artworks produced both by native Parisians, as well as expatriates. WIH Reporter: What format do you plan to use in the class? Tahinci: My class will be mostly lecture based with some discussion. For each lecture I project a richly illustrated Powerpoint presentation and I provide my students with a highly detailed handout with all the major points of the lecture, as well as suggestions for future readings. In this way, the journey continues until the next lecture.

Dr. Tahinci’s 8-week class, “A Moveable Feast: A Century Of Writers And Artists In Paris” starts on 9/14/15 at 10 am. For more information and/or to register, click here.

How Much Do You Know About…Beer?

June 29, 2015

LoadingFrom craft beers to international ales, this beverage is ubiquitous around the globe. According to Wikipedia, beer is the world’s most widely consumed alcoholic beverage and is the third-most popular drink overall, after water and tea. You may drink beer, but how much do you really know about it? Take the following test to determine your beer knowledge!



1. The essential ingredients of beer are:

A. Barley, malt, hops, sugar.
B. Water, malt, hops, yeast.
C. Barley, sugar, water, hops.
D. Grains, water, hops, yeast.

2. Most beer falls in two main categories:

A. Ales and Lagers.
B. Lagers and Pilsners.
C. Pilsners and Ales.
D. Stouts and Lagers.

3. What is the chemical in beer that causes intoxication?

A. Ethanol.
B. Methanal.
C. Carbon dioxide.

4. A certified beer expert is called a:

A. Cicerone.
B. Sommelier.
C. Brew Master.

5. Who was the first civilization to brew what we know as beer?

A. Germans.
B. Sumerians.
C. Persians.
D. Monks in France.

6. What is the oldest and still-operating brewery in the U.S.?

A. Yuengling & Son.
B. Anheuser-Busch.
C. Hoboken.
D. Samuel Adams.


1. D. Specifically, beer is made from these four primary ingredients: Grains (mostly malted barley but also other grains), Hops, Yeast (responsible for fermentation), and Water.

2. A. The two major classifications of beer are ale and lager. Ales are very much older, while lagers are only several hundred years old. Ales are fermented at warm temperatures for a smaller amount of time, while lagers are fermented at cold temperatures for longer periods of time. Ales are fermented with yeasts that float on top of the beer, while lagers are fermented with yeasts that sink to the bottom of the beer during the fermentation process.

3. A. The chemical in beer that causes intoxication is ethanol. According to Wikipedia, Ethanol (ethyl alcohol) is the main type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, including beer.

4. A. Cicerones are beer experts. It is a certification, similar to a wine sommelier, but it is a very advanced and difficult beer education program. 

5. B. Sumerians. While the earliest known alcoholic beverage is a 9,000-year-old Chinese concoction made from rice, honey and fruit, the first barley beer was most likely born in the Middle East. Evidence of beer production dates back about 5,000 years to the Sumerians of ancient Mesopotamia. Archaeologists have found ceramic vessels dating from 3400 B.C. with beer residue, and 1800 B.C.’s “Hymn to Ninkasi”—an ode to the Sumerian goddess of beer—describes a recipe for a beloved ancient brew made by female priestesses. These nutrient-rich suds appear to have been very important in the Sumerian diet, and were likely a safer alternative to drinking water from nearby rivers and canals, which were contaminated by animal waste.

6. A. Yuengling & Son. Yuengling & Son is the oldest operating brewing company in the United States, started in 1829. It was started by German immigrant David G. Yuengling. During Prohibition, the brewery sold ice cream. Today, they still operate out of their 1831 brewery and are the 4th largest American distributor.

For more information about beer, see the following sites.


7 Top iPhone/iPad Utility Apps

June 29, 2015

This fall, Liz Weiman will be offering her “iWorkshop” basics class and “Introduction to Social Media.” In advance, she has recommended 7 top utility apps below that will make our lives very much easier!

 1. Speedtest, a free app by Ookla, offers an easy way to test the speed of your Wi-Fi or cellular service. With just one tap on the”Begin Test” button, you can measure your download and upload speeds, and more. It saves your results for comparison, and gives you a way to verify what was promised by your provider!

2. RedLaser Barcode Scanner is a bar code reader that allows you to scan product bar codes, compare prices, and find the best deals online and locally.

3. Try either the Amount Converter app ($.99) or Converter Plus app (free) to convert everything from currency conversions to clothing to loan interest amounts. Both of these popular apps convert metric, temperatures cooking amounts, and so much more.

4. iHandy Carpenter is a great toolkit app which contains 5 tools: a plumb bob, a surface level, a bubble level bar, a steel protractor, a steel ruler. For $1.99, you can get a great toolkit. If you just want a level, the iHandy Level app alone is free.


5. My Data Manager is a free app that will help you take control of your mobile data usage and save you money on your monthly phone bill. Use My Data Manager every day to track your data usage and ensure that you don’t go over your monthly data bill and incur unnecessary charges. Find out just how much data your apps are using, and also how much data you use each month. You can set notifications at different times of the month.



6. DO button - This free app allows you to make shortcuts for the things you do most often. There are recipes to perform automated functions, such as emailing your family to let them know you’re on your way home and more. 




7. Lastpass is a free, award-winning password managing app that saves your passwords and gives you secure access to them from every computer and mobile device. With LastPass, you only have to remember one password, your LastPass master password. LastPass will fill your logins for you and securely sync your passwords everywhere you need them. (1Password is a popular competing password manager).

For more information or to register for Liz Weiman’s upcoming classes, click here.  For more information on iPad/iPhone apps and more, visit her site,

Persia: Its History, Art, Culture & More

June 29, 2015

persepolisOne of the oldest civilizations in history, Persia has a played a role on the world stage for thousands of years. In her fall class, Melanie Urban traces the origins of present-day Iran including its rich history, art, culture and more. We visited with her to find out more about this fascinating ancient culture.


WIH Reporter: What do we need to know about your upcoming class?

Urban: We will be covering 4,000 years of Persian history and culture. Iran today is as much a product of its Persian legacy as it is influenced by its Islamic heritage. Iranians consider themselves separate and apart from their Arab co-religionists, and we will talk about the reasons for this separate identity as well as how that plays into their current political position.

WIH Reporter: What about Persian culture?

Urban: The legacy of Persia in its culture and art has influenced both east and west, and we will talk about those aspects of its identity as well. Persia was strategically located to take advantage of the trade and cultural exchanges east to west and vice versa. Trade and exchange along the land-based Silk Road fostered the spread of ideas and religions, as well as art and technology.

WIH Reporter:  What would surprise us to know about the topic of your class?

Urban: There are many delightful and surprising aspects to the study of Persian history and culture.  For instance, did you know that the tombs of Esther and her uncle Mordecai lie in Hamadan in the western part of Iran? You can find her story in the Old Testament, along with that of other prophets who lived and worked in Achaemenid Persia.  Cyrus, who founded the great Achaemenid dynasty, sent the Jews of the diaspora back home to Israel and gave them money from his own treasury to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. When the Romans started expanding their empire at the end of the first millennium BCE, who stopped that expansion into Asia beyond the Levant?  The Persians, of course, and they fought the Romans to a standstill on many occasions over the following centuries.  Memorials to these victories were carved in stone, and still stand today in wonderful detail.

Another constant source of amazement for me is the high level of Persian culture and artistic endeavor during the early part of the second millennium CE, at a time when Western Europe was struggling to survive. The contrast is instructive and explains, in part, why Persian tradition plays a central role in the Iranian identity even today. These are simply examples, a few of many, that will reward a participant in my lecture series on Iran.

WIH Reporter: What mistaken impressions might we have about the subject of your class?

Urban: I hope that no one expects simply a political discussion of Iran’s position in the world today.  There is so much more to Iranian history and culture than what we might view as the current situation.  I will, of course, spend some time on current events during the last lecture, but to comprehend the whole situation one should have the background necessary to understand how and why it came about.  I would hope that participants in the class will come to appreciate the picture as complex and worthy of study. WIH Reporter: What format do you plan to use in the class? Urban: The lectures will be fully illustrated with many photos taken on a recent trip to Iran, where I visited many historic and cultural sites.   In addition, we will take detours into the realms of art and poetry, added dimensions to the more or less chronological presentation.   Iran today is a unique blend of the indigenous with the imported and subsumed.   Pictures illustrate this fact and assist in the understanding of the complexity of this country. Urban’s 8-week class, “Persia: Art, Architecture, History”, begins on 9/22/15 at 10:00 a.m. For more information, and/or to register for this course, click here.