WALTHAM MATTERS SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP: Upcoming Event

Upcoming Plans for BOLLI Waltham Matters

by Sue Adams  (scadams@gmail.com)*

Special Exhibition: A Disability History of the United States at the Charles River Museum of Industry November 16 at 10:30 AM   

Stay tuned for a very special collaboration in November between the BOLLI Social Change Working Group and Waltham Matters.  On November 16 (third Friday), we will meet at the Charles River Museum for a guided tour of a special exhibit  put together by students at Gann Academy, a private high school in Waltham,  after extensive research.  Alex Green, former chair of the Waltham Historical Commission as well as a teacher at Gann,  will be our guide, and we hope we will also meet some of the students who were involved in devising this project.  Waltham Matters is very pleased to co-sponsor this presentation, and we extend thanks to Cindy Wentz, BOLLI’s  Equity, Inclusion and Disability Liaison, for her support.

Parking for the museum is ONLY at the Embassy movie theater parking lot at the foot of Cooper Street. Follow the signs and cross the river at the footbridge; bear right, and follow the road to the museum entrance. There is a small parking fee (free if you have purchased a parking pass at the Stanley Senior Center on Main Street). The museum charges a nominal $5 admission for Seniors..

Other News:

Waltham Matters planning team has put together a monthly lecture or walking tour on (usually) the fourth Fridays since April, working from suggestions offered by you, our BOLLI Waltham Matters participants. So far we have paid attention to local history and historic sites, as well as art and a walk along the Charles River led by the director of the Waltham Land Trust. We are a collaborative and participatory group with wide ranging interests. I encourage you to help expand our reach with suggestions and ideas and join in making interesting events happen. Future programs may include a look at theater in town, a talk by the director of Africano, a talk with local education leaders, a conversation with the director of the Senior Center/Council on Aging.  What would you like to see? Perhaps you’d like to launch a project to catalogue the outdoor art around campus?  Let me know!

Spread the word–and join us on November 16.

“Waltham Matters” special interest group chair Sue Adams

Long-time Waltham resident Sue is active in Chaplains on the Way, Connections for Healthy Aging, Neighbors Who Care, and the League of Women Voters.  Semi-retired from the Unitarian Universalist Funding Program and the Access Project, in her spare time, she–wait–there’s no spare time!  But she divvies up what there is among her husband Ron, kids, grandkids, and one great-grand.  Life is full and good.

POP CULTURE WITH DENNIS GREENE: IT’S TIME…

It’s Time They Were Recognized

By Dennis Greene

            I am guilty of putting up a variety of false fronts. I spend lots of time with my golf buddies talking Red Sox, Patriots, and Bruins. I know the scores and the stats, and after a round, I usually join them in a beer, even though I would prefer to go to J.P. Licks and have a chocolate ice cream soda with vanilla ice cream. I try to act like a guy’s guy.

Each week, I attend the New Yorker magazine discussion group. I read the chosen item carefully and attempt to make insightful comments. I try to appear as an erudite student of literature, but I know my unfamiliarity with authors like Alice Munro or Richard Ford gives me away. My literary false front isn’t very convincing.

This term, I am enrolled in a class about the incomprehensible workings of our universe. We are learning about Einstein’s General and Special Theories of Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, and the relationship of time, space, mass, light, and energy. I try to act as if I am interested in understanding these mind stretching subjects, but it is another pose. I just want to understand what Sheldon Cooper is talking about on The Big Bang Theory.

I am a closet TV sit-com nerd, and after 10 years, I feel compelled to speak out. The “Me Too” movement focused my attention on our society’s treatment of women, and I have long been aware of yet another area where they are treated unjustly. For the past decade, I have noted the accolades heaped on Jim Parsons for his role of Sheldon Cooper, while Kaley Cuoco, who, as Penny, carried the show from the start, has received little professional recognition. Until two other female actors joined the cast, Penny was on screen almost full time with one or the other of the three male leads, and she carried them all. Sure, she earns lots of money but no individual Emmy nominations. To add insult to injury, since Mayim Bialik joined the cast, she has been nominated for the Emmy almost every year. Not to say Mayim doesn’t do an excellent job, but she joined an established hit and already had celebrity from her prior success as Blossom, while Kaley made The Big Bang Theory a hit. The lack of recognition received by extraordinary women actors in successful sit-coms (ok, Tina Fey, Julia Louis Dreyfus, and Chloris Leachman aside) is inexcusable.  And this trend seems to be continuing.

Recently, I saw an episode of Young Sheldon, a prequel showcasing Dr. Sheldon Cooper in his youth.  Ian Armitage, the young actor playing the nine -year-old Sheldon, is masterful in capturing Sheldon’s mannerisms, quirks, and idiosyncrasies and is already a frequent guest on TV talk shows and late night TV.  It is likely that he will be as celebrated as Jim Parsons was in the role. But, in this pop culture geek’s humble opinion, the best characters on the show are Sheldon’s Meemaw, played by Annie Potts, and Sheldon’s twin sister Missy.  Annie Potts dominates every scene she is in.  She did the same thing in the movie Ghost Busters 34 years ago. While Dan Ackroyd, Bill Murray, and Chevy Chase went on to become household names, Annie Potts–despite her success on Designing Women–remains relatively unknown. And I have noticed little fanfare for Raegan Revard, the spunky and talented young actor who, as Missy, is the perfect foil for young Sheldon.

As a recently motivated, male geek feminist, I would like to call for an end to this injustice to women in TV sit-coms by showing some love and an Emmy nomination groundswell for Young Sheldon’s Meemaw, Annie Potts.

BOLLI MATTERS Feature Writer Dennis Greene

Dennis spent five years as an engineer and then forty as a lawyer–and sixty as a pop culture geek and junkie.  He saw “The Day the Earth Stood Still” in 1951 when he was seven and has been hooked on speculative fiction ever since.