New weapon is BOFFO!
IN WHAT could be a major break in America's war on terrorism, scientists have taught dolphins to sing the theme from the TV show "Batman." You might remember how the song went: "Bat-mannnnnnnn! Duh, duh, duh, duh ... Bat-mannnnnn!" The song struck fear in the hearts of arch criminals everywhere, right up until they saw Bruce Wayne and young Boy Robin in tights.
According to a science publication, dolphins from Disney's Epcot Center were taught to sing "Batman" by researchers from the New College of Florida. The stated purpose was to demonstrate that animals can recognize rhythms and reproduce them vocally. But that's such a stupid reason for hassling dolphins that there must be some hidden purpose for the experiments. I mean, if they just wanted to teach dolphins -- especially Disney dolphins -- to sing, they would have taught them something from "The Little Mermaid."
That's why it might be connected to the war on terror. Everyone knows that during the Cold War, the Navy trained dolphins to carry bombs on their backs and attack enemy submarines. But when the secret got out, the government was attacked by animal rights advocates who thought that turning dolphins into suicide bombers just wasn't cool, especially since the dolphins thought they were just delivering lunch.
So, unable to teach dolphins to become bombs (and money for the military is really tight), dolphins are now only being taught to sing songs like "Batman" to scare potential undersea foes. Imagine how freaked out two al-Qaida terrorists in a homemade submarine would be if a bunch of dolphins suddenly showed up singing the "Batman" theme. They'd probably abandon their craft through the screen doors and flee for the desert.
WE'VE got lots of dolphins in Hawaii. I think they still keep some at Coconut Island in Kaneohe Bay. But other than occasionally humming the theme from "Gilligan's Island," our dolphins really aren't into music. Some of those dolphins were trained by the Navy and so are undergoing post-traumatic stress syndrome therapy after learning they had been carrying explosives on their backs, not Subway sandwiches.
I think a lot of animals can recognize rhythms and reproduce them, but they just don't want to. I surprised a caged hamster once beating out the drum solo to Iron Butterfly's "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" on his water bottle, but he quit when he saw me.
If dolphins are being taught to sing as part of the war on terror, I suggest teaching them songs that will really scare the bejesus out of people, like "Feelings" or anything by the Captain and Tennille.
, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists' 2004 First Place Award winner for humor writing, appears Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org