Wednesday, March 05, 2008
This American Life
One of the things I love most about having an I-Pod is that I never have to miss an episode of my favorite radio show "This American Life," I just subscribe to the podcast. If you've never heard this show before, the concept is pretty simple -- they pick a theme and let writers, artists, journalists and normal everyday people tackle that theme. And no matter what the theme, the show is always fascinating. This weeks' theme was "Human Resources" which sounds pretty boring, but I learned so much -- especially about chimpanzee retirement homes, which I never knew existed. But trained chimps are only going to work for a few years; once they get to be four or five years old they're too mean and too stubborn to do sitcom tricks anymore. But they can't be returned to the wild because they've never known any kind of life other than the domestic life, and they live a long time in captivity.
It never occurred to me that Cheeta -- the chimp from the Tarzan movies -- might still be alive, but he is. From Wikipedia: In retirement Cheeta lives at a primate sanctuary called Creative Habitats and Enrichment for Endangered and Threatened Apes (or CHEETA) in Palm Springs, California. He watches television and makes paintings which are sold to benefit primate-related charities. He often watches his old films with his grandson, Jeeter. He also likes to leaf through books and "play" the piano."
Cheeta will be 76 years old next month, and his autobiography -- no kidding -- will be out in October.