January 5, 2002
There you were, minding your own business, watching Gilligan's Island or the Beverly Hillbillies or maybe even Bonanza (if you went that way) when all of a sudden
the program would stop in mid-word and a BREAKING NEWS screen, complete with loud, dire sound effects, would intrude upon your day.
Up until about twenty years ago, that
inspired a feeling of panic and dread, akin to the 2 AM phone call.
For those few seconds until the newsman (preferably Walter Cronkite) clued us in, we were sure it was the BIG ONE.
And I don't mean the California earthquake.
That feeling of panic and dread is back.
Although it never completely went away, it was buried under a heap of denial and a whopping false sense of security, which only grew bigger after the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union collapsed.
Sure there were the Middle East and Northern Ireland, not to mention whatever was going on in China and Korea and India and Pakistan and Kosovo and the Indonesian riots, not to mention various famines and droughts and AIDS and...
Well the point is, it didn't seem like most of that could touch us, not on a large scale anyway.
I often hear the talking heads on TV saying that the world changed on September 11.
The world was exactly the same on September 12 as on September 11. All that happened was that the rose-coloured glasses got ripped off our faces.
The world may be changing now - Afghanistan certainly has changed since October, allegiances have changed (perhaps), the world economies have been affected, things are evolving differently than if the attacks had not happened.
(I'm not even sure where the anthrax fits in - I'm afraid I'm prone to my own conspiracy theories about that one.)
Of course not all breaking news headlines herald doom; the ones involving American politics may be important but still elicit a yeah, yeah * delete * response.
Some may involve good news such as a successful space mission or a scientific breakthrough.
Speaking of scientific breakthroughs...
Dolly the Sheep has arthritis.
I quote from the CNN website:
Dolly, the world's first cloned sheep, has arthritis, one of her creators has said.
I must digress for a moment and comment on the use of the word "creator" in that sentence.
Does the fact that Dolly was cloned as opposed to being conceived the old-fashioned way (or even by artificial insemination and I still want to know how they get the sperm for that method but that's a digression within a digression...) imply that scientists are now some sort of sheep-deity?
Anyway, the importance of this discovery is related to the issue of premature aging in cloned animals.
What I'd like to know is, how did they realize this had occurred?
Did Dolly go around "Oy-y-y-y-y-y-y'ing" instead of "Ba-a-a-a-a-a-a'ing"?
Did she show up one day wearing a copper bracelet?
And you know what's next don't you:
Picture a head shot of poor Dolly on your TV, plaintively "Ba-a-a-a-a-a-a'ing" into the microphone. At the bottom of the screen you can read the translation:
"When I come home from a hard day of following around other sheep, I'm hurtin'. Like my good buddy, Wayne Gretzky, I take TYLENOL to relieve those aches and pains.
Don't laugh - it could happen!
I am just warped enough to find this site hysterically funny.
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