Wednesday, December 20, 2006

761 Days, 7 Hours, 15 Minutes, 44 Seconds

sThe blow-up Bush punching bag arrived today. A full seven inches. Except he's not blown up. She tries with the little pump for blowing up pens, which now doesn't even work on pens. She puts it in her mouth. And blows. And blows. She gets it pretty good, but by the time she puts the plug in he's lost it: stands for a minute, then knocked down, he stays down. Especially if hit from the right. Seven inches. She tries holding it closed, carefully, with a very dull scissors. This takes the skill of a mother. Or an intern. Her father in the hospital blowing in bags for the woman who called herself a respiratory therapist. Finally she searches the toolbox for a needle-nose pliers. Or any pliers. The best she can do is what looks like tweezers. But he's blown up now. A day before she leaves for Texas and the family Christmas. By the time she gets back she'll be needing this.

761 Days, 8 Hours, 49 Minutes, 11 Seconds

A little girl dressed as a dreidl walks Columbus Ave. Yesterday on 90th St. near the Catholic school she saw a boy and a girl with reindeer antlers. This year, public schools don't get off until the weekend before Christmas. Not what she remembers. She stops at Garlic Bob's for pizza. Not what she remembers. And she's left her pills home.

761 Days, 11 Hours, 36 Minutes, 30.2 Seconds

U.S. Scraps $877M Anthrax Vaccine Contract. VaxGen keeps missing deadlines. Their tests on humans would prove too risky. This company's had trouble since the start. Should have known better than to trust someone already flubbing tests on an AIDS vaccine. Besides, there's already a vaccine out there. So everyone who might be exposed to anthrax gets six shots over eighteen months. That's not too much to ask, is it? Only one more than you need for rabies. Yet people continue to love dogs and rabbits. Also in today's headlines: our new Secretary of Defense visits Iraq for the first time (at first she thought they meant Bill Gates). Bush admits that, with all the insurgencies, there's been a setback.