Thursday, February 12, 2009

Lincoln and Darwin: Two great men together again for the First Time

On this date 200 years ago, Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin were born. Talk about less than six degrees of separation between me and these two great men: Darwin wrote about man's linkage with simians; Lincoln’s critics called our 16th President, the Great Ape. I worked for Hanna-Barbera. They're humans. Hanna-Barbera created the Grape Ape. I love that show!

I don't buy this nonsense that man personally evolved from monkeys. Monkeys are far too smart and understand the ecology of waste management much more so than us human people. Anyway, most of us are far closer to being a horse's ass than a monkey's uncle.

I am so happy that Ross Altman wrote this song. It means I don't have to come up with anything witty to say about either Lincoln or Darwin today. As you can see from my first two paragraphs, I don't know anything about either man except that both had two names, bushy beards, and the ability to enrage millions of people with their words and deeds.

I do know a little more about Lincoln than I do about Darwin. I've driven in his car. I've passed through his town. I've read the play he was watching the night of his assassination at Ford's Theatre. (Until Eugene O'Neill came along, this sort of melodramatic claptrap was the apex of dramatic theatre in America.) I even memorized The Gettysburg Address as a high schooler, something kids were required to do back then to prove that public school education was about more than smoking cigarettes in the bathroom and attending Friday night football games at Breese Stevens Field.

Isn't that video the weirdest thing? Not the animated Lincoln, but how the synchronization makes it look like a poorly dubbed Chinese martial arts movie? It's that kind of thought process that made me into a C student.

Monday night, February 16th, I will be watching The History Channel's "Stealing Lincoln's Body." It's one of those odd chapters in American History that few kids know about because no one has been able to download it yet on ITunes.

Virtual animation apparently can now bring Lincoln to life to the point where he now looks more and more like Royal Dano, the voice behind Disneyland's Main Street Opera House's animatronic, "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln." Incidentally, Disney never one to miss a great PR opportunity, has had that exhibit closed since 2005 while it continues to show some self congratulatory 50th anniversary film about the Park. I wonder what Walt would think?

Since I do not want to slight Charles Darwin on his birthday, perhaps a primer on how evolution works for the layman is in order. I've watched it already and I still don't quite understand natural selection. But then again, I also pick up food off the floor that's been there for more than five seconds and I'm still around. I guess that makes me evidence of survival of the most foolish.

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