|Alex, the Gray Parrot trained by Irene Pepperberg, choosing an activity other than TV watching.|
"Prostitutes to Parrots" is the title of a new program that features Heidi Fleiss. Back in the old days of the 1990s, she became infamous for running a Hollywood Brothel and for landing in prison for tax evasion. Her reform over the interim has been supported by what the New York Times calls "the greasy runoff of reality television." The next phases of her career begins Sunday night on Animal Planet. The cameras will follow her life with 20 brilliantly colored macaws. In a preview, Heidi explains how she used to have millions, but then the Federal Government got to her. (The fed. gov. isn't getting any good publicity lately--having once gotten Heidi's ill-gotten gains is not enough cushion against default.) Now Heidi is looking for ways to support the macaws. Animals have given her a new lease on life, and now she needs ways to keep that lease solvent.
Another "celebrity" whose life is taking a new turn is Rosanne Barr, famous for being Rosanne Barr. Her eponymous show equated working class and honest with crude and blunt and funny. She's still uninhibited, busy in Hawaii growing macadamias in the company of goats--goats she claims are judgmental. Apparently there's a running battle with wild pigs. All profiled on the Lifetime channel as "Rosanne's Nuts." The New York Times again sums up the impact of macaws, goats, nuts, and pigs: "Animals bring out a glimmer of humanity in even the most synthetic narcissists.
It's wonderful to have some distraction during the debt-ceiling crisis which is actually a faux crisis according to some sources like The Economist--in that you only have to say/vote--let's have a higher limit! But organizations like Audubon Society are tracking legislation and while dream programs may not be possible in an economy that still trying to find a fresh way out of old and new dilemmas, there is actually "Good News from Washington, DC." A bipartisan effort kept the Endangered Species act from being gutted. Mike Daulton of Audubon explains:
"This historic vote demonstrates the strong support that exists for protecting our nation’s most imperiled wildlife. We applaud the 224 members of Congress who supported the amendment sponsored by Representatives Norm Dicks (D-WA), Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Mike Thompson (D-CA), and Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI) striking language from the Interior and Environment bill that would have dismantled endangered species protections. Without the amendment, this bill would have crippled the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and driven imperiled plants and animals to extinction. Passage of the amendment brings hope that both parties ultimately will reject extremist assaults on America’s great natural heritage.”For more, see the Audubon website.
On a side note, some unendangered species appeared in my neighborhood this hot weekend: wide-winged eagles over the boat-busy river and the long-limbed sandhill cranes slow-marching through new-mown fields.