The cloning controversy is a classic example of two many people seeing too many science-fiction movies! My personal favorite op-ed rant as published in today's L.A. Times, is from Rocco (sic) Buttiglione, an Italian academic, politician and close personal friend of Pope Pole, too:
If we try to "produce" a child as if he were a machine or a commodity on an assembly line, we do not respect his dignity. A person is not an object. Persons are born out of the conjugal love of the parents. (Save your applause until later).
The real issue that arises from embryo cloning therefore, has to do with love, responsibility and family. Each child has the right to be born into a human family out of conjugal love between a man and a woman. (And not a man and a sheep?) Only in this way can the child establish the closer ties that will enable him to become a mature, responsible individual in a free society. That kind of person cannot be "produced" in a laboratory. Forgive me for finding a parable in popular culture instead of the Holy Scripture, but the movie "Jurassic Park" expresses the point perfectly. (We can hardly wait...)
In the beginning of that film, the scientist (the actor with the English accent?) hates children, but in the end he is willing to make a child with his fiancee. (Guess I missed that scene...) He has discovered that the true respect of nature is better preserved in making children and raising them out of love than in producing dinosaurs or "producing" children.
(Thanks, Rocco, but gee -- what ever happened to free will?)
And "Here-Here's" what President "Draw the Wagons in a Circle" Clinton had to say: "The recent breakthrough in animal cloning is one that could bring enormous benefits, enabling us to reproduce the most productive strains of crop and livestock, holding out the promise of revolutionary new medical treatments and cures, helping to unlock the greatest secrets of the genetic code. But like the splitting of the atom, this is a discovery that carries burdens as well as benefits."
(All the more reason to implant an Einstein egg in a sheep and get on with it!)
The "real" David Helfgott is starting his "Celebration of Life" concert tour here in America and the reactions are coming in as fast as he can talk. "It's certainly one of the funnier concerts I've been to in many years," says Boston's Harry Breger, as quoted in the L.A. Times Wednesday, Feb. 5. "I hate to say it, but it's a little bit like watching a trained monkey."
Also quoted is Julliard piano teacher David Dubal, stating that "Mr. Helfgott is a dreadful pianist," and David's very own teacher and fellow Ozzie, Sir Frank Callaway describes him as "sort of a circus act."
But it's all best summed up by "Shine's" director Scott Hicks who says, "His audiences never ask for their money back and that, I think, is as valid as anything in a world of entertainment as well as art."
Or as David pronounced while playing the Rach 3 at his U.S. debut "Slow it down now, slow it down, make it sing, that's it, that's right, sing sing sing, make it sing..."
Now, for those of you who are curious as to the content of the upcoming Firesign Theatre April Fool's broadcast on Radio Now's "Pop Quiz", here's the nutty gritty.
The ten pieces are: an ad for the Everything You Know Is Wrong Expo: "It's a New Age festival of Ignorance!;" a Newsbite on Sheep Cloning: "Are there any human characteristics that sheep don't possess? We haven't found any!;" Darwin Monkey Stout "Great beers aren't born, they evolve -- and survive!;" Unconscious Village Mattress Madness: "There's no one between you and a good night's sleep but your credit card;" Newsbite: Lucas Buys Equador - "It's name will be changed to Endor...;" U.S. Plus-- "Guess what we do?;" Dr. Cy Borg's Replacement Clinic "Your new arm and a leg won't cost you an arm and a leg!;" Millennium Madness Newsbite (or as Bergman says, "Y 2 K?"); Anything You Want To, The Movie;" "Earrings and nazis in places I never thought of;" and finally, an add for the National Carrot Council, "It's the root to root for!"
And here's what you WON'T hear:
DO: You've seen Circus-Circus, you've experienced NY NY -- now, newer and bigger and brighter and better than ever -- it's -- DISNEY/DISNEY!
PP: Now you don't have to fly to Florida or drive to Anaheim to experience the happiest illusion on earth, because they've built it right here on the delirious Las Vegas Strip.
DO: A trip the whole family can enjoy, brought to you by the Family Family and it's just the front of the friendly Family Family Gaming Hotel!
PP: And since it's only to half-size, the lines are half as long!
DON: Quack, quack!
PP: Hey! Who's that?
PP: Look, kids! It's the Don!
DO: Take advantage of our Family Family fare on Dumbo Air!
PP: DISNEY/DISNEY -- all of the thrills -- without the mice.
(And this contribution, from moi, didn't even make it on the tape!)
MUSIC: "Kitten on the Keys"
FRENCH ANN: From the Chateau country of La Belle France for your favorite feline -- it's "Chat Eau," catwater from the ancient walled wells of medieval wine country.
ANN: This isn't your fish-flavored run-of-the-mill cat swill, this is authentic French "Chat Eau" water, with the whisker-tickling essence of champagne that kitty will go crazy for! Seepage from the leakage of ancient champagne distilleries filtered through rolling fields of the finest French catnip has produced the first pet drink that earns the Fedco seal of VSOP: Very Safe On Pets.
FRENCH ANN: What is a meal without wine? And what will stop your puss from whining? "Chat Eau"-- the precious pet water from France!
LOCAL ANN: "Chat Eau" is available in more powerful concentrations by prescription only. And watch for "Dog Eau" coming soon in the hydrant-shaped bottle.
This is a warning for all Internet users - DO NOT DOWNLOAD ANY E-MESSAGE ENTITLED "PENPAL GREETINGS"!! Delete it WITHOUT reading it!! This message appears to be a friendly letter asking you if are interested in a penpal, but by the time you read the message, it is too late. The "trojan horse" virus will have already infected the boot sector of your hard drive, destroying all of the data present. It is a self-replicating clone virus, and once the message is read, it will AUTOMATICALLY forward itself to anyone who's e-mail address is present in YOUR mailbox! The virus will DESTROY your hard drive and holds the potential to DESTROY the hard drive of anyone whose mail is in your box, and who's mail is in their box and so on. to computer networks worldwide!!!
And remember: Do not read any messages like this that warn you of VIRUSES! If these messages keep getting passed on, they have the potential to do a great deal of DAMAGE and you may lose your mind!
In an article from the NY Times back in early September of 1995, comes this explanation of the apparent virus e-mail problem: "The new virus takes advantage of a trend to imbed miniature programs, calles macros, inside common data files like electronic mail or spreadsheets that can be sent over computer networks. Such documents are typically ignored by anti-virus software and network hardware barriers, known as firewalls.
So far the viruses are limited to word processing documents made in the Microsoft Word program for Windows 95 . . ."
So, your mumbling auteur asks quite seriously -- is there anyone out there in my vast readership who has actually been attacked by one of these periodic "virii?" "e"- nquiring minds want to know...
This is a big hit on the net judging by the vast number of times you have sent it to me! So here, for the two of you who may not have seen it, is an edited version of an actual newspaper contest where entrants age 4 to 15 were asked to imitate "Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey."
My young brother asked me what happens after we die. I told him we get buried under a bunch of dirt and worms eat our bodies. I guess I should have told him the truth--that most of us go to Hell and burn eternally--but I didn't want to upset him. Age 10
I like to go down to the dog pound and pretend that I've found my dog. Then I tell them to kill it anyway because I already gave away all of his stuff. Dog people sure don't have a sense of humor. Age 14
Whenever I start getting sad about where I am in my life, I think about the last words of my favorite uncle: "A truck!" Age 15
It would be terrible if the Red Cross Bloodmobile got into an accident. No, wait. That would be good because if anyone needed it, the blood would be right there. Age 5
For centuries, people thought the moon was made of green cheese. Then the astronauts found that the moon is really a big hard rock. That's what happens to cheese when you leave it out. Age 6
If we could just get everyone to close their eyes and visualize world peace for an hour, imagine how serene and quiet it would be until the looting started. Age 15
Oh, God! With these kind of young minds out there in the writing pool, does this mean we're going to have to watch "Saturday Night Live" well into the 21st Century!?
© 1996/2002 by Phil Proctor