Harvard Blog #10

Harvard Blog #10


Education is big business, Harvard has figured this out. I am expected to select one course to attend as an observer, or as they call it an “audit”.  I might throw a dart at a map of Europe to improve my chances of getting that “Awesome Course”.  There are no less than than 300 courses at the various schools.  All are coded just to make the process more complicated to the uninitiated, but then it gets divided to another layer of Departments, in turn making the actual Course material more obscure.  You dig through the levels of obfuscation to find the outline.  Remember Havard is selling, so, the course title might be “Orgasmic Biology”.

There isn’t one 20 year old on the planet that won’t read the next level of the Course syllabus based on a title like that.  It also applies to aged septuagenarians. The course was about cells, not mobile phones.

The effort to just get a handle on what is being offered has taken us two days of intense  computer-internet interaction and involved spread sheets, time tables and location maps.  The MIT website listing of courses is completely different, but then these guys are really smart engineers. They are the ones that invented Microwave ovens that blink 12:00.  They also invented passwords.

It s clear, if you can get through the registration process you deserve to be here. I call it Harvards off-line testing. I have 53 pages of spread sheets to narrow the variables.

Our flat is looking more like us.. Diana has bought Chinese stretchy material that can cover sofas, chairs and other pieces of adequately stained furniture that might be deemed unfit for her bottom, or anyones.  I would hate to do human fluids test on them, God knows what kind of communicable disease may be present.   I look at the redecoration as condoms for furniture. The small appliances have been having a party and multiplying as well,  just may they reproduce a pencil shaper.  I cut my self with the knife.

Off to school at the cack of dawn.  Basically, Cold Hell revisited.

The first week of classes introduced me to the concept of American medicine clearly from stress.   A small coming-on tummy upset procured a CAT scan in the emergency department of a local hospital.

I must say that wait times are just as bad in United States as they are in Canada if not worse. We could’ve driven home obtained drugs and driven back.  The general approach to American medicine is to test the hell out of you until you die and the hospital gets the death benefit.  They then give you one ten cent pill and pack you off to a pharmacy to buy the remaining 19 pills at 79.95.

The concept of giving an American hospital your insurance number is another daunting exercise in bureaucracy, forms, phone calls, insistence by insurance company (Sun Life) for follow up at one of “their doctors”.  Colonoscopies are more fun.  Of course, we have insurance. The state of Massachusetts insists on it!   Diana’s meticulous note taking proved to be boon for to pill or not to pill.

Cool school,  the place is full of bright eyed bushy tailed kids whose main vocabulary word is “like”, it drives me to distraction, they may be bright however they are not articulate. My persona given a scanty smattering of gray hair does elicit certain amount of politeness and difference. I’m going to use it wherever I can.

Decided on 3 courses.  1) in leadership in the public private sector 2) history of the great leaders under stress people like Roosevelt and Mussolini.  The first leader we started with was King David because of course the Bible relates only truth 3) Digital media in convincing buy-in by the unwashed of climate change .  Don’t you love live Fake Fox News, entertaining stuff.  As classes started I was allowed to wear my Bat-Man underwear and hero socks, just for confidence as I entered the hallowed halls of The Kennedy School. And nobody knew but me, well maybe Diana.

We walk to school,  and get in almost the 10k steps. The freshmen are always passing us as they’re of fleet foot with a bounce in their step.  Little Bastards, they didn’t wake up with the same pains in the morning that they went to bed with the night before.  When I was a kid walking down Saint Catherine St., Montréal I often thought to myself why don’t these old people just walk faster they are in way. I now know why….Ouch!

On my adventures walking home, I had a true wildlife experience some prehistoric bird, called a Turkey were casually walking down the street.  Yes two turkeys creating a great deal of road traffic mayhem.  I thought the Puritans ad eaten them all off.

The delight of fine Cambridge eateries is a distance memory as we endure this 30 day diet of gruel alone no bread.  We are almost there.  Can’t wait for that English Muffin oozing with butter and Marmalade.

Harvard Blog #9

Harvard Blog #9

We love Amazon.  Diana has bought every available kitchen gadget from Amazon there’s a constant stream of packages to the front door.  They make it so easy to spend money, just a large sucking sound or is it the click click-suck  on her computer.  I haven’t figured out the ever confusing passwords to my Credit card, so I am safe from the ravages of depleted bank accounts and the restructuring of international debt payments.

Amazon has supplied us with every thing for cuticle cutters to comfortable computer chairs, matching, no less. The chairs are a big improvement over the kitchen stools we’ve been using.  They are made in china, cost 85$, are delivered, and look like a TESLA. The multitudinous rolly wheels allow for a quick escape to a back room.

Of course, where would we be without a cleaning lady?  In a large pile of dirt!….

Diana has negotiated with a fine Brazilian lady to do a supper clean to start with.  Operating room scrub down type of clean. Cleaning ladies in the USA are paid quite well, right up there with lawyers.  I just hope DT doesn’t deport them all before our year is up.

We have made several foraging expeditions outside the flat, all walking to various food shops and hardware stores.   The ACE hardware guy (Al) has every conceivable bit of hardware in a store the size of a bathroom stall.  He puts Home Depot to shame, and knows where every thing is.

I am in love with the local Whole Foods store, as I linger over the raw milk cheese counter to titillate my olfactory senses, only to be violently grabbed by Diana, admonished and chastised “its not on the diet”.  Oh My God, to linger with a good ripe Limburger. The type that peels paint.  Its a love affair…



Havard Blog #8

Havard Blog #8

Oh yes, the “Snow Bomb” came with vengeance.  I do love it when every thing stops even the frozen Chihuahuas that were left out side by mistake with heir delicate little paw stuck to the plate glass door on frozen drool.

In observant reverence we did not venture out.  Quite sensible I think. Unpacked, that was the easy part. Setting up computers was quite another, lost pass words, lost wires and no internet..  Passwords are the bane of my existence! Even 16 character nonsensical Harvard Passwords. Designed to protect the user account from the user.  Its why we have “help”desks.

Well, the snow has passed and some cars are in a deep freeze as water flooded in on the Mass coast and then froze sold…but not us. Thanks to Canadian (AKA Montreal) training.  Snow is fun!

Our little flat is nice but with cheesy furniture.  I guess Students like it.  Not much of our “stuff”

We ventured out today….but first dig out car…UGH.  Then shopping, shopping and more shopping. Groceries, blenders, very sharp kitchen knives and many cuts washing it.Where the help desk when you need it?

The state of Mass as all but banned plastic bags, you know the kind that actually get your groceries  from the store to your home in one piece. Good solid bags are replaced with paper bags made out of tissue paper, Kleenex would have been stronger. The new eco-model tissue bag has a life expectancy of 3 seconds and are required to rip apart dropping the contents to he floor, smashing that glass bottle of olive oil.

This tissue paper bag stuff is a clear plot by the olive growers of Sardinia.

All this shopping is in aid of no wine for a month…and to endure severe deprivation and liver re-gen (nothing to do with electric cars).

Dinner: Zucchini spaghetti with shrimp and Ronesco sauce…don’t ask .. This one would have been right with you.  I do mis the oozing English muffin.

Tomorrow is another day….

Havard Blog #7

A move to Cambridge.

It started at 7:30 Am Wednesday Jan 3 2018, a clear morning I think. The sky was black-black.  It being so early that either the sun had gone out or we are in the middle of winter in Canada, where in the wisdom of governments we are subjected to delight savings.  If we have been saving all this time, don’t I get some back as a dutiful Goldie Oldie?  No. The scant sliver of daily sunlight in Northern climes is reserved for Kindergarten children who come home at 2:00PM while their parents are subjected to this merciless cold blackness.  I think hell was invented by people from southern hemisphere. Cold and black is Hell.

The drive started well enough with our little electric car struggling under the weight of Diana’s 10 suitcases,  I had exactly one suitcase.  I figured I could wash my underwear at at least once in a year.

Again I struggled with the concept of Border crossings and a car packed to the gills.  The potential of being made to take it all apart again to find that sliver of space required for Diana’s 7th carry-on bag. Cars are like airlines they only allow one carry-on.  Every flying woman boarding a plane I have ever seen has at least seven carry-ons.  To  my complete joy and possible orgasmic relief the Homeland Security Chap took our visas and passports, give them back and with a smile waved us on. Yes, he did.  God knows our car was so laden-down it could have been full of smuggled genuine Ontario Maple Syrup.  This being a complete falsehood because the real Maple Syrup suff comes from Quebec.

The roads and weather were fine.  Always leave before the storm. The American media was in anti-fake news frenzy as they reiterated the “Bomb Storm” was coming to Boston.  It seems the Meteorologists invent a new word for interesting weather patters every year.  Last year it was “A Polar Vortex”.  Do they think we are stupid?  Its a “Snow Storm” .  Thats it.

Our little Tesla surged on bravely and asked for electron feeding stops at regular intervals, which mercifully did away with the usual female banter of suggesting that driver (me) needs a coffee.  The phrase is a common feature in the female of the species, and translates to,“stop the car I want to pee”.   Now, I went to an all boys school, where we learn with avid ardour the nuances of women.  We males, after many years, have  learnt this turn of phrase, if not at our peril.

Diana had an uncontrollable urge to use her 15,000 words/day as we drove down from Toronto.  The unbridled loquaciousness all started by reading out loud every single road signs to me as we drove for 1000 kilometres.  Men can actually drive a car with out talking…all the time!.  We just think dirty thoughts to stay awake.

However, in her defence she did buy food at one of the charging stops in preparation for the “Bomb Storm” so yesterday we set up house.  The down side is the food selection.  No English muffins and Marmalade oozing with butter.  Diana has decided we are on a diet for 30 days. The worst of which is, no wine…at all…Oh My God, I don’t beleive it!  How will I ever survive?

Arrived at 10:30 PM un-packed car and slid into cold sheets to dream about the ensuing “Snow Bomb”.