Tuesday, March 13, 2012


"What kind of work do you do mostly?"
"Anything that's reasonably honest," I said.
He nodded. "Reasonably is a word you could stretch. So is honest."
I gave him a shady leer. "You're so right," I agreed. "Let's get together some quiet afternoon and stretch them."

"Quest. Q as in quintessential, U as in uninhibited, E as in Extrasensory, S as in Subliminal, T as in Toots..."


"You'd be surprised how difficult some of that Mozart is," he said. "It sounds so simple when you hear it played well... Mozart is just music. No comment needed from the performer."

Inside the double doors there is a combination PBX and information desk at which sits one of those ageless women you see around municipal offices everywhere in the world. They were never young and will never be old. They have no beauty, no charm, no style. They don't have to please anybody. They are safe. They are civil without ever quite being polite and intelligent and knowledgeable without any real interest in anything. They are what human beings turn into when they trade life for existence and ambition for security.

--(The Little Sister)


"Maybe I can quit drinking one of these days. They all say that, don't they?"
"It takes about three years."
"Three years?" He looked shocked.
"Usually it does. It's a different world. You have to get used to a paler set of colors, a quieter lot of sounds. You have to allow for relapses."


I caught the rest of it in one of those snob columns in the society section of the paper. I don't read them often, only when I run out of things to dislike.


They had watching and waiting eyes, patient and careful eyes, cool disdainful eyes, cops' eyes. They get them at the passing-out parade at the police school.


The car was never found by any police. It was stolen sometime in the night, driven most probably to El Paso, fitted with new keys and forged papers, and put on the market eventually in Mexico City. The procedure is routine. Mostly the money comes back in the form of heroin. Part of the good-neighbor policy, as the hoodlums see it.


...My voice seemed to echo off into the distance and get small and lonely.


He leaned back in the big chair he was sitting in and took me to pieces with his hard gray eyes.


The French have a phrase for it. The bastards have a phrase for everything and they are always right.
To say goodbye is to die a little.


--(The Long Goodbye)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

--Raymond Chandler

"I don't like your manner," Kingsley said in a voice you could have cracked a Brazil nut on.
"That's all right," I said. "I'm not selling it."

"Police business," he said almost gently, "is a hell of a problem. It's a good deal like politics. It asks for the highest type of men, and there's nothing in it to attract the highest type of me. So we have to work with what we get--and we get things like this."

"One moment, please. Whom did you wish to see?"
Degarmo spun on his heel and looked at me wonderingly. '"Did he say 'whom'?"
"yeah, but don't hit him," I said. "There is such a word."
"I often wondered where they kept it. Look, buddy," he said to the clerk, "we want up to 716. Any objection?"


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Just finished JACK KEROUAC'S "Maggie Cassidy"...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Janine di Giovanni

Before we left with a group, moving up the hill to the front, Jon said that he was proud of all of them when they left, but he felt bad sending some of them off. He new, maybe, that some were going to their deaths. You could always tell, he said, who was going to make it and who was not, by some strange look in their eyes.

Srebrenica massacre

This is what it feels like to watch someone else's agony: no matter how many times you listen and record someone's story, no matter how many refugees you see crossing over a mountaintop wearing plastic bags on their heads to protect themselves from the freezing rain--you do not get used to it.

He dropped me at the hotel and screeched off, as though my desire to get to Serbia or Montenegro were contagious.

You can forgive but not forget... we think that love is greater than hate... but it is a small step to go from hate to love; love to hate. It is a very thin line.
--Zeljko Kopanja, editor, in Banja Luka, August 2000

10,615 persons, out of whom 1,601 were children, were killed in Sarajevo. More than 50,000 persons were wounded, a great number of whom remain invalids. The siege of the city lasted from May 2, 1992 to February 26, 1996 or 1,395 days, which is the longest siege in the modern history of mankind.
--Suada Kapic, from a "war" map of Sarajevo, 1996


Friday, October 14, 2011

Just finished THE DEMON OF DAKAR by Kjell Eriksson. Well-written.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Bill Carter

(On top of that, one Fox executive had turned up onstage so drunk that he couldn't pronounce the word "Tostitos.")

Jay wasn't displaying any overt signs of anger, but Lorne Michaels believed he was too professional to ever allow himself to let that out in public... Michaels could only guess the source of Leno's displeasure. "They made him come in, they made him do it. He had to sing for his supper, he had to audition again, and it was just all in a hostile room."

Conan was not only cagy but was totally transparent and upfront, qualities that were no advantage in a negotiation.

...but as even one senior NBC executive conceded, "You can't trust network executives; they go back on their word."

"Depend on it sir: When a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully." --Samuel Johnson

Knowing and recognizing television was like knowing and recognizing candy bars, Lorne Michaels reasoned. You anticipated what you would get for your dime or quarter or dollar (depending on how old you were.) Snickers? That was the one with nuts. If somehow that relationship changed, because the wrapper made it odder or more expensive looking, you might get confused and think maybe that wasn't the candy bar you wanted after all. It might still be a good one, of course, but it wasn't the one you knew. If it had the look of having gone upmarket, maybe you'd look around for a different candy bar.

The classy answer is, "'Oh, well, that's a silly question to ask, because somebody already has that job.' That's what you say if you're classy.

"What does Jay have on you?" Conan asked, his voice still low, his tone still even. "What does this guy have on you people?" What the hell is it about Jay?"


Monday, July 11, 2011

Melissa Boyle Mahle

Christine Cabon is a French military officer best known for her part in the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior...

Speaking at a university forum in 1993, Gates stated that at the time of his confirmation, 60 percent of the CIA budget was devoted to Soviet issues. By the time he left, Russian issues accounted for only 13 percent of the budget.

...Yasir Arafat had jeopardized Gulf Arab financial backing for the Palestinian cause when he chose to tailgate Palestinian popular opinion and support the Iraqi position during the Gulf War.

In a show of Islamic solidarity Sudan changed its visa laws in 1991, allowing any Muslim into the country without a visa.

On January 25th, during the morning commute, chaos broke out in front of the gates of CIA headquarters. Lansing Bennett and Frank Darling were murdered as they sat at the traffic light, waiting to turn into the restricted drive leading into the CIA compound.

Black Hawk Down - Mark Bowden

There is an old saying in the Directorate of Operations among operations officers: If you don't like a case, for whatever reason, but do not have a good reason to terminate it, polygraph the agent. The test can be engineered to ensure that the agent fails.

Named 'Project Bojinka,' the cell planned to simultaneously blow up twelve airplanes as they flew across the Atlantic.

"Against All Enemies" - Richard Clarke's memoir

"Inside The CIA" - Ronald Kessler

"See No Evil" - Baer