HARVARD SQUARE COMMENTARY

June 25, 2007
Potpourri

Ernest Cassara


NHS Togs

As I, bleared eyed from too much reading on the web, reached for my pajamas, I asked myself where this pretty green pair came from.  My wife, hearing me mumbling the question, answered, “Those were the ones that the National Health Service Hospital in London provided you, to replace the “johnny,” so you could walk around the ward and cross over to the toilet without your having to hold together the fold in the back.  Ah, yes!  Another reminder of my brief experience with “socialized medicine,” although, I did tell you did I not, that being an American with health insurance, I was expected to pay.  The administrator of the hospital - a very pleasant man - stopped by my bed to explain the situation.

In addition to my green pajamas, I came away with some small pamphlets, which I must have picked up at the hospital, advising on the potency of various alcoholic drinks and what a reasonable limit should be!

The NHS thinks of everything!


TV Styles

Since I began my checkered career in radio - before wandering into the Groves of Academe - just in the days when TV was being developed, I notice things that other viewers might not.

Case in point.  Tune in “The “Situation Room” in the late afternoon, Eastern time, on CNN, and you will now see Wolf Blitzer standing up at a glass table.  (Not exactly a svelte profile, but that is not the point.)  Any guests on the program join him around the table.

I tuned in “American Morning” the other day, in order to discover whether this is now the norm at CNN.  Yes, there was John Roberts standing at the table.  Much to my surprise, however, he was allowed to sit in interviewing one of the guests.  Frankly, I think he must have rebelled, for they provided him and his guest with plush, red chairs.


Better Late Than Never!

In my days in the groves of Academe I was an active member of the American Association of University Professors.  Indeed, in my twenty years in Virginia, I had served in various state-wide offices, including the presidency of the state chapter.

When I retired from my professorship, I informed the national office of the AAUP of my change of address.  (My Better Half and I decided to leave the Old Dominion, and the District of Columbia, where she, too, was an academic, and return to New England, in order to see our grandchildren grow up!)

Well, nothing happened.  Didn’t hear a thing from the AAUP.  Now, lo and behold! , in the mail the other day there arrived a packet from my old professional organization - informing me as to the level of dues.  Puzzle!  Why did it take them seventeen years to change my address?


Bloomsday

Got this reminder on the internet: “On June 16, James Joyce aficionados the world over celebrated Bloomsday. The day is named after advertising salesman Leopold Bloom, protagonist of Joyce's novel Ulysses. The entirety of this 700+ page book recounts one ordinary day, June 16, 1904, as various characters go about their ways in Dublin.”

Actually, I did not need the reminder, for I note “Bloomsday,” 16 June, in my little Harvard Coop diary every year, intent, you see, in being in dear Dublin on 16 June one of these years.

By the way, the few times we have visited Ireland, and, especially, Dublin, we feel right at home.  So many Irish immigrants ended up in Boston that the folks in Dublin look just like our neighbors.


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