Friday, June 30, 2006

Work / Middle East

Was following updates in an emergency session of the UN today regarding the Israeli attacks on Gaza and the hostage situations (Pal.militants have an Israeli soldiers, the IDF kidnapped half the Palestinian govt.) The UN and Red Cross are pleading with Israel to let humanitarian workers in as the Palestinians are now surviving on one meal a day. As I was reading this I noticed some guy walking around the office I work at saying hello to everyone. "Oh shit," I thought. "He might introduce himself to me, and try to shake my hand, and see the bump/blisters from my poison ivy."

I then began trying to shake my hands with eachother to see if it was noticable by touch (its only on my right hand) I could somewhat feel the blisters (mainly in between my fingers but some on the right side of my right hand, and yes its uncomfortably.) As I was doing this the man came into my office and introduced himself, and extended his hand!

As I had been practicing, I curled my right hand tight which would give a firm shake but not a good grip (which is different from the 'dead fish' shake.) Suddenly the man (italian?) grabs my right hand with his other hand and opens my hand to reposition it, saying "ah we need a good grip get a good shake!" luckily he was looking at me, and not my hand, as he did this. I laughed uncomfortably. I dont know if he felt the poison ivy but after he left he had a funny conversation with the receptionist outside my office.

As he went to talk to her she mentioned how she had shingles which mayve resulted from childhood chick pocks being innoculted. He then rushed a good 10 ft away from her saying he couldnt get anywhere near her as he has never had chicken pox! They continued talking (with distance) and he went on to say he never really had any of those well known childhood diseases (I wondered if poison ivy was included) and how he was terrified of getting them. I found all of those humoursly ironic.

I also laughed to myself when, during his conversation I heard him say "yeah I've never had chicken pox, never had.. uh, Ive never had measles or mumps or rubella..." I was real close to shouting from my office (in a friendly manner) that he's never had measles, mumps or rubella because we arnt in a third world country and everyone receives the MMR vaccination as a child." The reason I didnt was because I wasnt sure if those vaccinations were available in the 50's when Im guessing he was a kid. So I looked it up and was semi-right.

For those who care; the measles virus was contained (in the US) by 1954 with the vaccine available by 1963. The mumps vaccine was first liscened in the US in 1948 and used from 1950-1978. The Rubella vaccine has been available since 1968. And the all-in-one MMR shot has been going since the 1970's. A few fun facts I learned while looking this up: Cuba eradicated rubella by the early 1990's, while the USA did not fully eradicate it until 2005 (Cuba has a world renown healthcare system.) Also, Rubella is also known as German Measles, but not from 1917-1918. During the Great War, in the US it became known as "Liberty Measles." Thus during this period, Americans came to associate uncontrolled infectuous diseases with "liberty" instead of the hated Germans.

If you think thats assinine; dont forget 2003. When France didnt follow in line with the Iraq War, the US Capitol cafeteria changed "French Fries" to "Freedom Fries" at the behest of Congressman Walter B. Jones (R-NC) despite the irony that the French govt. was not following the US war agenda because the overwhelming majority of its people wanted it that way; a unique concept of a people living in Freedom. And if you think Congressman Jones is an idiot for doing something so juvenille, you are correct, but he is now one of the most vocal ANTI-war critics in congress, stating he wish he hadnt authorized the war and co-sponsoring a bill with Dennis Kuncinich calling for withdrawal.

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