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Varmus's Last Dance

WASHINGTON, D.C.--Led by three institute chiefs, a band called "The Directors" performed last week at a send-off for outgoing NIH boss Harold Varmus, who's about to head off to Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York City. They crooned, among other favorites: "Harold, stay, just a little bit longer" to the tune of "Stay" by Maurice Williams & The Zodiacs, and "Oh where oh where can that Harold be?/Paul Marks took him away from me," to the tune of "Last Kiss" by J. Frank Wilson & The Cavaliers.

For fans who had to stay at home, we note that the band featured Francis Collins, director of the National Institute for Human Genome Research, on lead guitar; Steve Katz, director of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, on lead guitar; and Rick Klausner, director of the National Cancer Institute, also on lead guitar. Having three lead guitars was in keeping with NIH style, Klausner explained. (Drummer Chuck Allerson, keyboardist Tracey Roualt, and bass player John O'Shea also chimed in).


Harold, stay, just a little bit longer
Won't you play just a little bit longer
Well, Donna don't mind
And the Congress don't mind
If you take a little time, just to keep the budget fine, do it one more time
Oh won't you stay, just a little bit longer
Please, please, please say you will.

Last Kiss

Oh where oh where can that Harold be?
Paul Marks took him away from me
He's leaving heaven so he's got to be good,
So he can get grant funding like he thinks he should.

He biked to town, Nobel Prize in his hand
Thought he'd returned to the promised land
Went to the Congress and said "Show me the money"
But in '94 there was no milk and honey.
He hunkered down, talked 'bout a steady state
But it really bugged him, what a terrible fate!
So he pressed on and said "Look what we do--
Medical research is good for you."

Six years have passed since we first saw his face
Buildings are sprouting all over the place.
Now science rules, it's a new world order
Thanks to Specter, Harkin, Obey, and Porter.
He's left his mark, he's nobody's fool.
Let's not discuss the graduate school.
Clad in spandex, he's plugged on ahead
With cre-lox, stem cells, and E-BIOMED.

(Puzzled? Compare with the original lyrics.)