On conservation and sentiment

I do not care if some professor in some rabbit warren of a concrete university office building calls my thinking inexact and sentimental. Sentiment— call it love— for the wild is  ultimately why Will and I became rangers. Sentiment is why any of us bother to raise children, who sometimes don’t appreciate what we do; why we care tenderly for elderly parents after age has deprived them of the memory of our names. It is why we try to salvage the juvenile delinquent, the alcoholic, the drug addict. Without it we are not human.

Jordan Fisher Smith, Nature Noir


Liang’s book does not say what happened at the end of either story. What of that family of eight? What of the animals and birds crowded in around them? Did they float thus through all eternity? Did they ride the waves in their enormous boat, beneath the rain-sodden sky, forever and a day, skin and fur and feathers, until they became one with the water, the wood, and the wind?

And why salt?

Hong fails the examinations. He keeps the book.

Jonathan Spence, God’s Chinese Son

Every once in a while at work I find a Christian tract left behind in one of the buildings. I wonder if these litterbugs really think a small piece of paper is going to change anyone’s mind. Then I remember Hong Xiuquan, a disappointed Chinese scholar who, after finding such a pamphlet (about Noah’s Ark and Lot’s wife, as related in the quote above), started a quasi-Christian uprising and nearly overthrew the Qing dynasty.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

So many plot spoilers below…

“Rise of the Planet of the Apes” was fun. I’ve read some criticisms of it, mostly from reviewers who took it way too seriously. Even with some good actors like James Franco and Brian Cox, the humans are the least interesting characters in the movie.

I have the original “Planet of the Apes” movie on DVD here at home. It has perhaps the most spoiled movie plot on… the future Planet of the Apes. Long before I first saw it in college, a clip from the end had appeared in a television documentary about the Statue of Liberty. Mel Brooks also spoofed its ending in “Spaceballs”.

Ape #1: Dear me. What are these things coming out of her nose?
Ape #2: Spaceballs!
Ape #1: Oh, shit. There goes the planet.

“Spaceballs”, 1987

But the worst plot spoiler for “Planet of the Apes” was the cover illustration on the old VHS box which included a picture of the Statue of Liberty. That’s like putting LUKE I AM YOUR FATHER in 48-point Helvetica on the cover of “The Empire Strikes Back”. I saw it a few years ago in the video store and couldn’t contain my disgust. I complained to a nearby stranger and probably ruined it for him too. If I had never seen the movie I would have watched it wondering whole the whole time why there was a picture of the Statue of Liberty on the cover, and then finally at the end… well, I would have demanded my $2.50 back from the video store.

For that matter, the mere existence of “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” is a massive plot spoiler for the original. This madness must stop. Please everybody stop talking and writing about “Planet of the Apes” and quit making other movies about it. You’re ruining it for everyone else.