Knox College, Room 3 (near room 4)

59 St. George Street

between College & Harbord

Entrances on St. George and King's College Circle,

accessible entrance from lot on north side of Knox.

Street parking or lot available

Sunday, February 8, 2015

2 - 4:30 p.m.



Presenter: VIRGINIA ROCK, Educator, Professor Emerita York University, Ulyssean Society President

Please stay for continued discussion on

the future of The Ulyssean Society

Devoted to educating herself and others about enjoying the reading of literature in its cultural contexts, Virginia prepared herself by formal study with a BA and MA at the University of Michigan, followed by a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Minnesota (1961). In 1994 she was honoured with a D.Litt. (Doctor of Letters) from York University.

Teaching has been her delight for more than 50 years at a variety of institutions in the United States, Canada and abroad: a high school in Michigan, a women's and a teachers' college, and four universities: Louisville (Ky.), Michigan, Minnesota, and Michigan State. From 1962-1964 she was a visiting Fulbright professor at Jagiellonian University in the historic, beautiful city, Kraków, Poland. In 1965 she moved to Canada, largely the result of culture shock on her return to the U. S. and Michigan State, she says. She could not resist the exciting challenges of a new university, York, where she taught from 1965 to 1994, was Master of Stong College, the first woman master (1969-1978) and Director of the Graduate English Program for three years.

Virginia's experiences in Poland were quite special, indeed unique, some amusing, some stressful because she did not know Polish, others quite special because she was the American Embassy's Cultural Affairs officer's chief contact in Kraków for having special tours or events arranged for visiting Americans, like John Steinbeck and Robert Kennedy and his family.

York University was good to Virginia, giving her opportunities she could never have enjoyed at older universities: helping to create a college "from scratch," planning programs and inviting speakers and performers from dance, theatre, and music to provide accessible cultural experiences for students within their college; developing special undergraduate and graduate courses on the American South in its cultural context with a focus on women as both subjects and authors.

Virginia has been taking an Academy for Lifelong Learning workshop, Reading and Writing Memoirs, for several years while working on her own, having been convinced by friends that people would find it interesting and worthwhile to read. It is clearly an immense Work in Progress. All too relevant to her task is a line from a poem by English author, Andrew Marvell: "But at my back I always hear, Time's wingèd chariot hurrying near ..." In this presentation she provides background and selections from her manuscript. She looks forward to any feedback to help expedite its completion.

Visitors are welcome


ph: 416-410-1892



Sunday, March 8, 2 - 4:30 p.m.

(location as above; in our usual Room 4)

Topic: A North American Native Perspective on Environmental Protection

Presenter: Danny Beaton, Mohawk, Turtle Clan



Inquiring Mind

Saturday, February 21

TIME: 2 to 4 p.m.

PLACE: Wychwood Library, 1431 Bathurst St. (south of St. Clair)

Contact Convener: Marie Paulyn

Mosaic Planning Lunch

Monday, February 23

12 - 1:30 p.m.

Granite Brewery &

Restaurant, 245 Eglinton Ave. East (entrance on Mt. Pleasant)

Join us for good food and fellowship.

Contact: Daniel Karpinski

Memoir Writing

No February meeting

Please call Virginia for more information if you are interested in attending future meetings

Play Reading

Date and location TBA

Contact: Vivian Haar


Saturday March 28 at 2 p.m.


General Meeting Report

January 11, 2015

Presentation: Wilfully Evolving the Experience

of Living

Speaker: Ted Engels, Head of Systems Research Intelligence Team, Psychotherapist, Humanist Artificial Intelligence

Ted Engels, a self-schooled revolutionary research professional, set his listeners on an intellectual journey and challenge to become more familiar with an area of investigation focussed on artificial intelligence. Head of a software engineering firm for some 30 years, Ted highlighted the impetus for his talk, founder John McLeish's Creed for The Ulyssean Society: "... I am committed to the noble concept and the provable fact that men and women in the middle and later years can, if they choose to do so, richly maintain the powers to produce, to learn, and to create, until the very end of the life journey."

Expanding on its implications, Ted noted that there are no intrinsic limits across the board to the individual's creativity modality associated with getting older. With special reference to passion, engagement, and productivity, he cited his diverse background and the impetus for that, namely his having embraced the field of evolutionary research. He recounted some of the elements of his professional work experience as pertaining to his putting forth the framework of what he is calling an integrated skillset allowing for a consolidation, a synthesis practicum of existing wisdom across the domain of knowledge.

Such a practicum, he says, would actively distill and essentialize the thousands of cognitive themes into a workable genericized portfolio of so-called situational skills, allowing for a clear capture and cognitive processing of the "big picture." Driving purposes and themes clarify acceptable cultural outcomes and provide dignifying context and ambience for self-expression, he noted.

Ted recounted how his and his software engineering team's experience led to a rise to prominence early in the advent of microcomputers and how they showcased unprecedented learning situations not possible before interactive intelligent computing. He went on to describe and demonstrate in vignettes and anecdotes how critical emotional openness, connectedness and consideration of others in addition to overall proactive mastery of emotional dynamics is key to success in the new knowledge world of ubiquitous, instantaneous communication.

Many questions and further explanation for some of the ideas advanced were requested and a lively, provocative discussion followed. In reply to the final question of the afternoon, what would he say about "love and peace," Ted's response "god and truth" touched one listener as profound, a deep truth with integrity.

Daniel Karpinski thanked Ted and presented him a copy of John McLeish's book, The Challenge of Aging.

- Ted Engels, Virginia Rock

Mosaic: Discussion of Our Future

Following our discussion of Ted Engels' presentation and an enjoyable social interlude with refreshments, Ulysseans reconvened in a meeting to address the question of whether the Society can continue after the next Annual General Meeting on March 28. Central to arriving at a decision is finding someone willing to take on the responsibilities of President since Virginia Rock has announced her resignation from that office after the AGM. To date, no one has been found.

Many ideas were advanced to address problem areas in the Society and they warrant further consideration; the January 11 meeting ended with a promise to continue the discussion during the February 8 Mosaic. All members are urged to come and contribute to our deliberations.

A summary of comments made at the January meeting:

Virginia summarized what the responsibilities of the Presidency have been:

Prepares agendas for the Program and Steering Committee meetings, chairs these meetings as well. Writes year-end report as President for the AGM;

Reminds other officers of their reports (Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer) and facilitators of interest groups (Inquiring Mind, Memoir Writing, Play Reading);

Helps deal with problems or looks for help from members to fill in for uncovered responsibility, e.g., reading our Creed and Benediction, introducing and thanking the speaker, assisting with putting out Entre Nous (EN) newsletter, etc.;

Representative of the Society at appropriate meetings of other groups (not often).

A guest's comment: what the President should have - passion, vision and energy to carry an organization forward for three years; other attributes to keep in mind: skills, resources and personal connections.

Numerous jobs are being done informally by Shirley Gibson; she needs most of these, including newsletter-related, to be handled by others; many of these were listed in the January newsletter; computer use is required.

Virginia will continue to arrange Programs; the Program Chair role is separate from the President's responsibilities.

Suggestions and some discussion were offered for ways to consider dealing with the Society's survival, membership resources, getting the Newsletter out well before the next meeting:

1) Since we have a lot of money (though decreasing), we could hire some help. Suggestions made related to newsletter material and to administrative help, perhaps finding someone younger than our general membership. We would need to be careful that the new process does not instead add complications or workload to our current situation.

2) Change the newsletter format to simplify it. Total elimination of the newsletter is not feasible, as there are too many events for phone messages only and people need written reference; issues are also used for promotion to nonmembers. The scope and format changed for much of the last year without much member feedback and could be decreased further. Margot Rosenberg is willing to continue layout of our traditional 8-page format; she has posted content of all issues to the website. If we continue the traditional or current format, we need volunteers to write the meeting reports (if still included) and to submit other contributions.

3) A guest noted that with the membership low and decreasing, there is an opportunity to include members through outreach/marketing to peer organizations that offer continuing educational opportunities and discussion. It's hard to stand out unless you have a profile.

4) Direct question to address: do we have enough commitment from the membership that results in action? We need to do some soul searching: why we're here, why we have come together as a group.

5) Is having email capability necessary for a President? Is there some practicable way of insuring this by finding an assistant or by some other means?

6) Wind up The Ulyssean Society as a charitable organization and become a social club. It would still need organizers and communications, without any starting funds; other organizations exist.

7) The outdated website needs corrections and other attention; only the current newsletter excerpts web page is updated monthly. If updates are done externally, a member must coordinate on content.

Members volunteered to help find guests to become members: Elizabeth Allen will speak to seniors' groups; Linda Stitt will invite people on her email list to attend a Ulyssean meeting; some have already contacted Virginia as a result of Linda's message.

Shirley cautioned about seeking new members until we know if the Society will survive-find a President and people to help out.

The February 8 Meeting will update information and invite further discussion of unresolved matters. Thank you to all who participated in our January discussion. It was clear that most present favour the Society's continuation if a way forward can be found.

- Virginia Rock

SATURDAY MARCH 28 at 2 p.m.

Our Annual General Meeting (AGM)

Important Decisions to Be Made

Saturday March 28 at 2 p.m. has been confirmed for our AGM (Annual General Meeting). Potential schedule conflicts mentioned during our January meeting were resolved. The location is the large meeting room on the 31st floor at 44 Charles St. West, Manulife Centre, at Bay and Bloor.

An active search continues for a new President, Steering Committee members (1- and 3-year terms), and secretarial and other help, along with ideas to allow The Ulyssean Society to go forward. See the Mosaic discussion above and our January newsletter. The alternative is discontinuation, which requires a formal vote and strategy for an ending date, donation of assets, etc.

Please contact Daniel Karpinski or Virginia Rock if you can help, especially if you cannot attend our February 8 meeting.

All members are urged to attend. Due to our uncertainty, we have not yet asked 2014 members to renew; all are eligible to vote. Guests or former members who would like to (re)join may do so at a meeting, or contact us for a form.

In addition to discussion of and decisions on our future, we will have reports on the past year - a fine year to celebrate! Yes, some munchies too.

The building is convenient, with an additional entrance from 55 Bloor St. West and underground connection from the Bay or Yonge subway station. Paid parking is available. More details will be sent with the next newsletter and the formal notice of the meeting.

- Virginia Rock / Shirley Gibson

Member News, Events, etc.

Our President and Program Chair Virginia Rock continues to improve following her November 29 fall while getting into a WheelTrans taxi. Her continued treatments for the muscle pain have given enough relief most days to resume many of her regular activities. As announced at our January meeting, she will be sharing some of her memoirs with us at the February 8 Ulyssean meeting. The excerpts in past Entre Nous issues have been fascinating.

Note for this meeting only, we will be in Room 3, across the hall from our regular Room 4 location, as Knox College upgrades the room's media features.

Denise (Diz) Altschul will be one of three spoken word artists sharing creative work at the February 7 edition of Linda Stitt's monthly words and music salons at Vino Rosso (formerly Portobello) restaurant, 995 Bay St., between Bloor and Wellesley. The musical guests include Glen Gary, leader of the four-piece Three for Four group that provided a delightful mix of music for our December 2013 anniversary celebration, our first event at Knox College. The March 7 schedule includes three former Ulyssean Society presenters: Ann Elizabeth Carson, Adèle Koehnke and Bänoo Zan. See www.lindastitt.com for details of this popular series, 1:30-4:30 p.m. the first Saturday each month.

Our editor Margot Rosenberg is home after knee replacement surgery and rehab. Margot even posted our newsletter files to our website the day before surgery! She is posting this issue's content also.

Shirley Gibson is in the cast of the upcoming Act II Studio production of Departures and Arrivals, a play by Carol Shields, adapted and directed by Act II's Artistic Director Vrenia Ivonoffski. Life's varied comedies and dramas occur within an airport terminal. Performances are on February 19-21: Thursday and Friday at 7:00 p.m., Friday at 2:00 p.m. and Saturday at 4:00 p.m. General admission tickets are $20, available on-line at www.act2studio.ca and likely at the door. The Ryerson Studio Theatre is on the second floor at 44 Gerrard St. East (just east of Yonge); unfortunately there is no elevator.

Send YOUR news or creative submissions to Virginia Rock.

- Shirley Gibson

A Scent-free Request

We request that our attendees not wear strong scents. Thank you!

Guests are welcome at our meetings

Invite your friends, relatives, acquaintances,

fellow students in the courses you take,

members in other groups you are in

Become an active part of your Society

Help it to continue to function well

The Ulyssean mantra - A guiding principle