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4 February, 2001

As a kid, Sunday night was always a big night. The evening would kick off at 6:30 with Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom followed by The Wonderful World of Walt Disney. The host of Wild Kingdom was Marlin Perkins and his assistant Jim. Jim never had a last name. For thirty years, the first episode aired in 1968, these two would thrill and charm us with a look at the world beyond our own: we tussled with lion cubs, spied on anacondas and swam with dolphins. Marlin was what Steve "the alligator guy" Irwin is to today's youth.

For those of you who watched Wild Kingdom, you will remember the classic lines like "now my assistant Jim will lure the great white shark in". And just about the time Jim was about to get mauled my the great white, Marlin Perkins would interrupt the film to pitch life insurance! It would go something like this-"Jim has the shark right were he wants him, and you too can show your predator instinct by investing in Mutual of Omaha's life insurance plan!" Makes you wonder how much life insurance Jim had. It also explains why Jim didn't have a last name, it was easier to replace him in the next show.

While Antarctica is not known for its abundant wildlife, it is always a thrill to see what wildlife there is and I have taken advantage of every opportunity to see it that I could. Today, for instance, I was able to take part in a morale cruise on board the U.S. Coast Guard Ice Breaker: Polar Sea. The Polar Sea sailed out to the ice edge where all the big wildlife tends to be here in Antarctica. This following pics of Antarctic wildlife are dedicated to Marlin and Jim, who contributed to my interested in science and the natural world.

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