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Friday, January 15, 2016


"Mommy, does Dr Kurtz really control the weather?"

         Dr Kurtz  has always been politically, culturally, and philosophically incorrect; and for decades, children have been mesmerized by his magnetic personality and insulting manner on his local show.
             In 1970, shortly after the moon landing, Science was eagerly looking forward to the time when genes could be manipulated to "benefit mankind".  Most of us however, were skeptical, but science was on a sugar rush of success and a million mad scientists were born.  Kurt Griffith and I wrote this in 11th grade study hall in 1971.

              Let's go forward to the year is 2024 and there are all kinds of hybrid mutants running loose in the countryside, living side effects and escapees of genetic experiments.
              Our story begins as the Smith family was coming back from a month long stay at a lake in New Jersey, near Brickton Township. The Smiths had been on the highway for more than 10 hours, headed for their home in North Wilburville, Maine. The three young children were yelping and a long afternoon nap had their energy level high. 
                "When are we gonna get home?" cried little Enard Smith in horrific despair.
                "We seem to be lost kids, but don't worry, we'll get home." Dad Smith said wearily. They had crossed the Maine border and Dad tried a shortcut he knew, and was now lost.  Leaving at 8:30 a.m., they hoped to be in their home  by 9:00 and now it was nearly midnight.
                 Dale Smith angrily told her husband, "You're a real jerk, you know that, for getting us lost, "she said as she fidgeted frightfully. They were distracted by a dark circular object that caught their attention and Mrs. Smith said, "slow down….something in the road." Was it a shopping bag? Maybe something fell off a truck and had bounced into their lane. Mrs. Smith pushed her kids back into their seats and yelped to her husband, "……you're going to hit it. It's a mutant,   the Flying Duck Billed Platypus !  Brakes…You idiot!"
                  Dad Smith slowed down and said, "Watch this." He then pushed the accelerator roughly to the floor. THUMP THUMP was all they heard.
                   The children jumped for joy because they knew that irresponsible gene splicing had produced mutants, scary creatures that escaped from labs and it was good form to kill them before they started breeding.  There was now a bounty on all GMM's (Genetically Modified Monsters) and everyone was hunting them.
                     The family shared a robust laugh and Mrs. Smith smiled and said, "You're too much." She sighed, greatly relieved. They'd get home sooner or later, and they needed a laughto lighten up the angry atmosphere created by their impatience.
                     "Hey!" Dad interjected and interrupted. "I gots me an idea. It's 12 midnight. The MidKnight Show is on and guess who is one of the guests. That crazy dude, Dr. Kurts, the local kids show host that lives downtown, is tonights guest.  Turn on that radio!"
                  The show was just starting and after a quick opening monologue, Jerry Schmucox went into his first segment and Dad pointed to a sign. "There it is. Wilburville in 30 miles, we're almost home."

               They all listened to the show and the host of the MidKnight Show, Jerry Schmucox, began. "Yesterday a milestone in genetic history was reached. Dr. Kurts has successfully mated the rutabaga and a bagel. Our reporter obtained this interview earlier in the day.
Location of Dr Kurtz secret laboratory
           " The first genetically engineered vegetable and bakery product to come alive in a test tube was created in Dr. Kurts's secret laboratory, at 455 Main St. on the fifth floor; third door down on the right.
              "Well, ah had a friend who liked ta eat rutabagers and bagels at the same time, but of course you know that's impossible. Ayah. So ah set out to find the answer…that was 39 years ago on my 37th birthday. Or was that 37 years ago on my 39th birthday?"
                "How did you mate them Dr. Kurts?"
                "Well, ah put a rutabager and a bagel in a test tube and they really went at it. Why, they broke hunnerd test tubes before I had them mate in a steel pipe. Finally, I walked home and let them stay overnight in the lab."
                   He continued," Soooo, the next day, I opened the door and all kinds of these new hybrids came a-runnin' after me, even flying at me.  They was jumpin' up and down and playin' all kind'sa games I never seen before. They was shoutin' obscenities and watchin' mah color TV; drinkin' all ma beer and smokin' all my ceegars."
                 "This behavior was fine and I like a good party like anyone else, but when they started eatin' ma equipment I became enraged.  'Git in Yer Cages' I yelled as loud as I could, but they jumped out the winders instead; and three flights down is a killer for a vegetable and bread product based  genetic hybrid. All that was left of my experiment was rutabager mash. Ho Ho. Ayah."
             "But Dr. Kurts, we're on the 5th floor here in your secret lab."
              "Son, I'm good at equations and theories not mere numbers."
               "Professor Kurts, what are you going to do now?"
               "Goin' back doin' what I do best.; planning tomorrows weather."
                 The Smiths all laughed at Dr. Kurts usual madness and Mrs. Smith announced, "The weather WAS very nice today," she said winking at Mr. Smith. It was a gag parents had with little children kind of like Santa Claus, " if you're not a good boy, I'll have Dr Kurts rain on your birthday party."
                "Mommy… does Dr Kurts really control the weather?"  Enard said from the back seat. She shushed the children so they could hear the show.
"Thanks Dr. Kurts," said Jerry as the interview ended.  "As a tribute to Dr Kurtz and his new invention we are going to play one of his old gags, I mean lectures. They drove down the road feeling  lighthearted and
  at ease when little Abelard Smith spotted something out the window.  He poked his sister and pointed.   
     Meanwhile in the front seat, it wouldn't be much longer and the children would be sleeping in their beds she whispered to her husband when they went by the Wilburville 20 miles sign.
                 "Quiet, quiet, "said Mrs. Smith when the show came back from commercial, and the announcer was saying, "Dr. Kurts Nature Corner for Children. Today, Dr. Kurts is having a Q&A at the Atlanta Seaquarium. Take it away, Professor."
             "Today we are going to discuss the Sea Aardvark. First are there any questions?" The Sea Aardvark swam menacingly behind Dr. Kurtz as he poked his finger in the air.
            "Dr. Kurts, where does a Sea Aardvark come from?"
              "You dumb little twerp!  Everyone knows they come from aquatic cabbage leaves. Okay any other moronic questions?"
            Editor: remember this was 1971 and Cabbage Patch dolls had yet to make their appearance.
              The kids all laughed because they know that yelling at children is one of Dr. Kurtz's gags and they loved it.  The next question was, "Do Sea Aardvarks make any sounds?"
               Dr. Kurts gave the child a milk curdling stare and yelled, "You grungy little sea slime; don't any of you know anything?" he said as he looked around in exasperation  in front of the Sea Aardvark tank. "Of course they can't talk. Can you talk underwater? Sheeesh."
                  Another child piped up, "But scientists say whales and dolphins communicate?"
                 "Well I don't think that's any of our business, and don't you listen to any of those crackpot  scientists. There ain't many of us worth our salt these days."
                 "Yes, next question. Any subject, any topic.  You! Go ahead. Challenge me, I can answer any question."
                Competing hands were raised but he had pointed to one child who asked, "Not long ago, I saw a bird with numerous 4 foot orange wings, two of them coming out of his tail. Three beaks, seven heads and plants growing out of its face. What kind of bird was it?"
                    He gave a serious look to the audience and strategically gave this answer. "According to your description, it may be one of two species. Perhaps it was the Mountain Neck Bluebeak;  I would really have to see a picture or something to truly know.  However, I am more inclined to think it was a Goggle-eyed Goggle Google. Either way, I advise you to run like Hell next time and leave scientific observations to the scientists."
                        When they went to a commercial Mommy Smith looked in the back seat to figure out what the commotion was, "Enard and Abelard! Git yer heads back in the car. What is in your hand outside the window?"
                         In the next instant, a Flying Duck billed Platypus was frantically flapping in the back seat. "Roy! Pull over…one of the  mutants is in the back seat!"  In less than another second, Daddy Smith   rolled down the window and then grabbed the mutant platypus   as Mrs. Smith grabbed the wheel and drove.
                   After flinging it out the window he calmly asked, "Geez, you guys. You didn't have enough fun at the cabin?" The kids, always eager for mischief, shrugged their shoulders. Up ahead a ground level flock of the GMM Flying Duck Bills were sloppily flying just above the car. In their own mindless way, these creatures were trying not to get hit, yet oddly attracted to moving vehicles.  Bink! One hit the side of the car HARD. 
The parents conferred quietly, "I'm a little worried about this Dale," Dad said as he got out his handgun and flipped the safety with his thumb.
                     "Don't let the kids see you sweat," she whispered, then pointed in the road at five things standing there.  Dad slowed the car to a crawl and aimed.
                      Just as they stopped, Daddy Smith said, "hey kids, look at your old dad. Left handed!" BLAM BLAM BLAM. "Kill 5 birds with 3 stones, not bad. Or… a bird in the hand is….Hey! Dad has a request, I just remembered something."  They drove around the bodies then got back up to a normal speed.  My favorite Dr. Kurts episode.  I want to hear the Dr. Kurts episode about the KIKI Birds. Someone do a search, would ya." 
                 He loved his new 2024 F-250 and every seat had it's own screen and online access.  
                   In seconds it was playing on the screen. " Welcome to Vanishing! Species! Geographic!,  featuring esteemed professor and scientist, Dr. Bowell J Kurts. Today he discusses the immortal, or seemingly so,…  the amazing, the inimitable, Kiki Bird; a rare species that is only found in central Quebec Canada near the St James Bay."
                  The camera cut away to Dr. Kurts. "The Kiki bird is, of course, the unfortunate genetic hybrid of a Kiwi bird and an ostrich and a Penguin.  The, uh. Kiki Bird has thick feathers and is able to live in sub zero temperatures."
                     "These feathers are not used for flying, but to protect themselves from the tribe of Amerioque Hosers that go up there to feast and gorge themselves on the delicious Kiki during the summer.  Those ugly and disgusting, post-apocalyptic, snot gobbling, feather ripping  humans, completely gorge on the Kiki." Luckily for the Kiki bird, there is a short hunting season at the end of July.  Unlike most GMM's, the Kiki's meat is prized. Far better than chicken, and weighing  300 pounds, this is one of the few species out of the crosshairs of eradication because of its food value."
               Dr Kurtz continued, saying, "The young Kiki is hatched from a five foot egg and we presume that this is also why there are so few of them left in the wild, and very very few females left in the wild.  After an exhausting birth, the female passes out temporarily and the male covers the egg with snow and dead hosers. In 3 months a deranged, but otherwise healthy  KIKI emerges."
                    Then the camera did a close up on his face as he sincerely pleaded to the audience, "Help me, would you, " Dr Kurtz's plaintative glazed gaze stared out of the  screen, " Help me save them marvelous creatures…won't you? Our Save A KIKI   Fund may be the tether that keeps them from extinction." He paused dramatically, " Or it may be the window  that we watch them disappear. "
                   Every age spot filled the screen with an extreme close-up.  He had poked his eye off camera to get a tear rolling down. "Please don't let them go extinct." As the tear cascaded down his face.
                 "Send fifty dollars a week to the address you see on your screen. For the visually impaired, here is the address. I'll wait till you get a pencil. It's Dr. Kurts care of (c/o) Joes Bar & Grill 33, 33rd Street. Postal Zone 3. NorthWilburville Maine. "
The moderator said, "Dr Kurts will send you a picture of your underprivileged KIKI along with a colorful progress chart."  Then they cut to a commercial..`
                 The Smiths were on the highway just outside of town where the swamps were reported to be haunted. Almost there! More Flying Duck Bills were visible in the brighter street lights as they approached Wilburville.  Then the dark cloud came into view and Mrs. Smith said, "there's thousands of them!" and it became very dark.
                  The cloud approached, a few fly by and then furiously splattering against the windshield. Soon, out of every window, the snarling monsters could be seen. Abelard the oldest, rolled down his window and grabbed one and beat it on the back of the front seat as they all shared a good belly laugh. Then the car stalled and the windows began breaking and a vicious attack commenced which i don't have the heart to describe.
               As they were roaring with laughter, Dad Smith said loudly, "If were gonna die, at least we'll go down laughing!!!" Their grisly deaths were hardly noticed with all the other chaotic headlines  the next day.  The mad scientist secretly creating in the lab had turned into the bane of the 21st century. 

Dr Kurts was one way we could discuss some of the dangers of genetic manipulation, and the entire chapter is concerned with genetic engineering, and what we imagined for the future. Now we have become too close to this becoming a reality. 

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