Meridian Star

August 11, 2013

Increase your brain power

By Barbara Wells / Special to The Star
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — Far, far away, years from now, will the newly landed inhabitants of this planet study our culture and write us off as beastly things for the way we treat our animals?     When they locate the remains of diseased and starving cats and dogs amongst the debris of the 21st century, will they gasp in horror and contempt? Or, will they react that way when they hear of how our elders are placed in cubicles in overcrowded homes, left alone and forgotten?

    Maybe they will wonder at the rising state of our technology, how quickly we progressed with our cell phones, Wi-Fi, computer usage ... at how there was such a large population of wealthy citizens ... yet overwhelmed by the hungry poor, jobless, homeless among them. That with all our intelligence and far sightedness we still live divided by race, religion and politics. It is a theme long enacted in science fiction drama, in books, television and film.

    Consider how far we have traveled in just the past 10 years. I had my first GPS experience when invited to a concert at the casino five or six years ago. My friend had a fairly new car – the dashboard was lit up like a 707 airliner – when a woman’s voice told us to prepare to turn in the next 100 yards. Then we missed the turn and she patiently told us to try again. I was so impressed!     

    This past week, my friend had us listening to her conversation with her contractor over her car phone via Bluetooth. At home, she connected her iphone to her flatscreen and we watched a "slide show" of photos taken that day. Then, I just heard about a new device similar to "roku," that is tiny as a flashdrive that you plug into your television to stream Netflix films. I suspect some of you out there won’t know what in the world I am talking about; it’s a totally new language (and I’m probably not using the terminology correctly).

    Remember years ago we heard of studies on the brain that indicated that we are only using one fifth of our brain’s capacity ... or something like that? Late night talk show host Charlie Rose had as his guest Max Levchen, a young 38 year old who is one of the founders of PayPal and some other programs that were sold for enough to make him worth billions. Imagine that! From what I’ve read, he owns a multi-million dollar home, but sleeps in his studio – where all his computer gear is kept – in a sleeping bag on the floor!

    Despite all that, he was a pretty impressive fellow. Do you think he is using two-fifths of his brain? I like the idea he is using his brain power for developing programs to help people, not take advantage of them.

Fall classes

begin Monday

    We can’t get enough exercise classes at the center! Besides our Slimnastics class late in the afternoon (Monday/Wednesday/Friday at 4:30), we are fortunate to have Janie Howard leading a ZUMBA class four afternoons a week, Monday_Thursday. This is a dynamic fast movin’ dance class; we recommend wearing shoes that slide and comfortable clothing. Even with the cool (new) air conditioning unit, you can get pretty hot. Now if only we had a strength-training class for the evening.

     On PBS last weekend, I saw a curious new exercise: T Tipp. Some people can sell anything. But then there was a time Yoga seemed pretty strange. Remember the early photos of yoga?  

    Speaking of yoga ... Pat Wilson is offering a free 30-minute class for men Mondays at 5 p.m. The focus will be on wall and chair work, no getting up and down off the floor. Pat says if you are not satisfied, she will refund your stiffness.

New/old classes

     Looks like we’ll have enough signed up for our cake decorating class on Tuesdays, starting at 10:30 a.m.

    And, we are again offering a basic sewing class – it will have to be on a Wednesday or Thursday. You’ll need to bring your own sewing machine, so you will have an opportunity to learn how to use the thing at last. If you think you want to do it, call (601) 485-1812 ASAP.  We may have to begin the class the week of Aug. 19 if we don’t get enough interest this first week.

    Ceramics continues with Carol Ewing leading the ongoing classes. All you need to do is show up on a Tuesday or Thursday, pick your piece(s) and Carol will pour it for you. Then, you come back a few days later to clean it. It’s a fun, relaxing process and extremely inexpensive. It is getting time for Christmas presents ... best get ready in advance.

    Millie will return from her annual California trip to teach pine needle basket weaving on Thursday mornings. Still no jewelry class; if you think you could lead this popular class, please give me a call. We can start with a workshop. Linda Munoz will return for a glass on glass mosaic class in November.

    Computer classes are ongoing, every five weeks with Tom Milhorn. He teaches both Windows 7 and Windows 8. Michael Remy will instruct a class on iPhone usage beginning Monday nights in September. Call to get on the list on any of those classes, which fill up rather quickly.

    Both colored pencil drawing techniques and decorative painting classes are returning and are excellent studies for first time (wannabe) artists. We have samples on display of both techniques which might help you decide if you’d like to come by.

    People still get lost trying to find us. If you will drive up or down 29th Avenue (which runs all the way from the Interstate to North Hills Street), you will have to stop at the four-way sign on 36th Street (which also crosses Poplar Springs Drive). Look closely. See our little sign that says “Meridian Activity Center” with an arrow pointing to the west. Drive over on 36th Street until you see another sign on 32nd Avenue. Turn there. It is a deadend street and we are “where all roads lead” under the arch. This used to be Lamar Elementary School.     

    Call us at (601) 485-1812 if you get lost. If you are looking for a particular class but the line is busy, look us up on website (or email me at

    • Barbara Wells is director of Meridian Activity Center. You may e-mail her at