Showing posts with label quotes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label quotes. Show all posts

01 May 2019

Lefty Propaganda


Nervous panelist in the Green Room, striving for wisdom.
by Robert Lopresti

As promised two weeks ago, I am providing here a collection of wise words from authors (and a few editors... see if you can spot 'em) who served as panelists at Left Coast Crime back in March.  You may remember that I have done this at past mystery hootenannies. 

As always, if anyone feels I misquoted them I would be happy to correct it.  If you would prefer to deny being there at all, I take all major credit cards.

Regrettably, all the context for these comments were lost in a tragic canoeing accident.  (Turns out moose can't paddle.  Who knew?)  Okay: wisdom commencing.


"This book is set in the 1590s.  Totally different from the 1580s." - Kenneth Wishnia

"This novel is set in San Diego.  There's a lot of beer in it." - Lisa Brackmann

"I think everyone in Scotland is funny.  I just moved to California so I could get paid for it."- Catriona McPherson

"I can't possibly write something serious, because I don't want to read it." -E.J. Copperman

"A first draft is crap by definition." -Laurie R. King

"In my second book I forgot to include a murder." - Cynthia Kuhn

"I avoid people as much as possible."  - Timothy Hallinan

"I picked Mumbai as a setting the way you would pick a lover." -Sujata Massey

"I had a great time writing it because I got to do a lot of research into the Texas taco scene." -Meg Gardiner

"Don't the spaceships always land in Pittsburgh?" - S.J. Rozan

"What could be more noir than Iowa?" -Priscilla Paton

"I wrote a book that many dozens of people read." - G.M. Malliet

"I once got into an argument with George Clooney about Janet Jackson's breasts." - Kellye Garrett

"The way I know that I really love a book is I lose time in it." - Chantelle Aimée Osman

"If you write novellas, write science fiction." - Kate Thornton

"This is actually true.  I got it off the internet." - Ovidia Yu

"It's not particularly funny if someone is behind you with a gun.  But if the gun has a hair trigger and the guy has the hiccups...." -Timothy Hallinan

"I have my thought back." - Judy Penz Sheluk

"I don't want to love your book as much as you do because if I do I'll be blind to what needs to be changed." - Chantelle Aimée Osman


"The subject of furry novels is a thing." - Lisa Alber

"Me and God talk.  We go way back."  - Laurie R. King

"Hit the spellcheck button.  My fifth grader can find it." -Stacy Robinson

"If you get in the 150,000 word range, go do something else for a while." - Kate Thornton

"You never had a blog critic or a Kirkus review like a defense lawyer whose client you're sending to prison." -James L'Etoile

"When you call a police officer and say you want to research guns, you have to preface it in a certain way." - Judy Penz Sheluk

 "I call myself a book therapist." - Zoe Quinton

"Our experiences are all of our senses." - Elena Hartwell

"I'm delighted to still be living in a country that puts a U in humour." - D.J. Wiseman

"There are a lot worse things to believe in than God." -Suzanne M. Wolfe


"Most of the criminals I work with don't read." -James L'Etoile

"I can bang a short story out in eighteen months." - Kate Thornton

"If you're writing about someplace you don't live, make the protagonist a visitor." - Elena Hartwell

"When I started writing police procedurals I found it was very therapeutic, because you can kill your boss." -Robin Burcell

"Then an auditor dies under mysterious circumstances, the best circumstances to die under." -John Billheimer

"If you have someone speaking in an accent in a mystery, call it literary." - Kate Thornton

"I studied comparative religion, which made sense because I am comparatively religious." -Laurie R. King

"One thing I love about writing about small towns is that I can legitimately have cell phones not work." - Elena Hartwell

"You can do research forever, because you don't have to write while you're doing research." - S.J. Rozan

"I lived in England for five years and I did not want to leave.  I was not forced to leave, I might add." -G.M. Malliet

"I was so good at living in California I could have moved to Portland." - Catriona McPherson

"It is really funny to go in a bar with six cops, because they're always going to want their backs to the wall, and there aren't that many walls." - R.T. Lawton



"The only thing better than holding a book is holding a book with your name on it." - Kate Thornton

"You have to be willing to give me your darling and know I will slash it to ribbons." - Stacy Robinson

"I'm exactly like my hero except she's young, tall, and has hands big enough to hold a gun right." - T.K. Thorne

"After  every first draft the flame goes out." -James L'Etoile

"You see those people wearing shirts that say I Love New York and it tells you they are not from New York." -Vinnie Hansen

"I'm a psychotherapist.  I heal by day and kill by night." - Bryan Robinson

"A short story needs to have one point and your reader needs to get it right through the heart." - Kate Thornton

"Morris dancing is next, right after the sex." - Jeffrey Siger

"I think there probably is humor in heaven, or earth wouldn't look like this." - Ovidia Yu

"I have the right to remain silent."  - R.T. Lawton

20 March 2019

Popcorn Proverbs, Number 4


by Robert Lopresti

We have done this before and we are doing it again. These are quotations from crime movies, alphabetical by the titles of the flicks.  Only one of the posters references a movie on the list.  Answers in two weeks.  Have fun!

Remember you're old.

You said to me this is a family secret, and you gave it up to me, boom just like that. You spill the secret family recipe today, maybe you spill a little something about me tomorrow, hm?

-Aren't you worried?
-Would it help?

When they send for you, you go in alive, you come out dead, and it's your best friend that does it.

-You can't give back what you've taken from me.
-OK, then... Plan B, why don't we just kill each other?

-I didn't kill my wife!
-I don't care!

-In this family, we do not solve our problems by hitting people!
-No, in this family, we shoot them!

The competitor is our friend and the customer is our enemy.

How did you ever rob a bank? When you robbed banks, did you forget where your car was then too? No wonder you went to jail.

It takes more than a few firecrackers to kill Danny Greene!

Men would pay $200 for me, and here you are turning down a freebie. You could get a perfectly good dishwasher for that.

A man abandoned his family and wrote his son a story. He wouldn't be the first to cloak his cowardice in a flag of sacrifice.

You can add Sebastian's name to my list of playmates.

-There's a ninety-five pound Chinese man with a hundred sixty million dollars behind this door.
-Let's get him out.

We should all be clowns, Milly.

You get four guys all fighting over who's gonna be Mr. Black, but they don't know each other, so nobody wants to back down. No way. I pick. You're Mr. Pink. Be thankful you're not Mr. Yellow.

- I am a moral outcast.
-Well, it's always nice to meet a writer. 

Frank, let's face it. Who can trust a cop who don't take money?

-Looks like trouble.
-Looks like Christmas.

If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse one.

- I read where you were shot five times in the tabloids.
- It's not true.  He didn't come anywhere near my tabloids.

To protect the sheep you have to catch the wolves and it takes a wolf to catch a wolf.

-Not everyone loves us, Rex.
-Save the punditry for someone whose paid to have an opinion.
-I'm cool with censorship, I know the American people love that.

I do favors for people and in return, they give me gifts. So, what can I do for you?

-Man, I get so mad I want to fight the whole world.  You got any idea what that feels like?
-I do.  I decided to fight the feeling instead.  Cause I figured the world would win.



04 June 2016

Crime (and Other) Scenes



by John M. Floyd


A few nights ago I was sitting around with some fellow writers, and we started talking about our favorite movie moments. (It's surprising, sometimes, how seldom we talk about writing.) As it turned out, half the folks in our little group had never watched most of the scenes I described and the other half tended not to agree with me, but it was fun anyway.

As a result of that discussion, I have compiled some of my favorite and most memorable movie scenes, categorized to make a long list seem a little shorter. I've added some quotes too, now and then, and--not that it matters--I have splatted an asterisk beside my personal "best" scene in each group of ten, and explained why I like it so much. By the way, even though many of my female writer friends often accuse me of preferring "guy" plots, you'll see that not all of these scenes I've chosen are from mysteries/thrillers/shoot-'em-ups. (I'm not totally enlightened yet, but I'm making headway.)

Anyhow, here are my picks.


Best openings (in no particular order):

Rear Window
Jaws
Escape From New York -- "Once you go in, you don't come out."
High Noon
Romancing the Stone -- "That was the end of Grogan . . ."
*Goldfinger
Raising Arizona -- "Y'all without sin can cast the first stone."
The Natural
Cat People (1982 version)
The Ballad of Cable Hogue -- "Ain't had no water since yesterday, Lord. Gettin' a little thirsty."

*I think the Goldfinger opening works in two ways. The pre-titles "teaser" is a mini-story in itself, which introduces the main character and shows him carrying out a successful mission, talking it over with a colleague, having a liaison with a double-crossing lover, and dispatching a killer. ("Shocking. Positively shocking.") Then comes the second part: a great opening-credits sequence, probably the best of the Bond series, with title song by Shirley Bassey.


Best action scenes: 

Bullitt -- San Francisco car chase
From Russia With Love -- fight on the Orient Express
*Raiders of the Lost Ark -- opening
Ben-Hur -- chariot race
Dances With Wolves -- buffalo hunt
The French Connection -- car/train chase
The Revenant -- bear attack
Aliens -- ending
Titanic -- sinking
The Road Warrior -- tanker chase

*I once read a review that said there's more action packed into the first ten minutes of Raiders than in most full-length features. It contains a good line, too: "Throw me the idol, I throw you the whip." (Sure he will . . .)


Most emotional scenes (for me, at least):

Shane -- ending ("Goodbye, Little Joe.")
Old Yeller -- death scene
To Kill a Mockingbird -- ending ("Hey, Boo.")
Camelot -- Lancelot saving the jouster
The Graduate -- Ben, at the wedding
Up -- death of Carl's wife
Somersby -- the hanging
The Green Mile -- John Coffey's execution
*Dumbo -- his mother cradling him with her trunk, through the bars of her cage
The Abyss -- Virgil's dive to defuse the bomb ("Knew this was one-way ticket.")

*Strangely enough, Ali McGraw croaking at the end of Love Story affects me not one bit, but I can't even think about that Dumbo scene without getting a tear in my eye. And yes, I'm wondering a little about my priorities.




Best music scenes (not counting musicals):

Superman -- flying with Lois ("Can You Read My Mind?")
Star Wars -- the throne room
The Big Country -- opening credits
Deliverance -- porch-swing banjo/guitar duet
Peggy Sue Got Married -- coming home, seeing her mother and sister
Rocky -- training/running the steps
Top Gun -- opening credits
*The Big Lebowski -- dream sequence
Flashdance -- audition
The Man From Snowy River -- taming the colt

*You wouldn't think a scene featuring a Saddam Hussein lookalike, a bowling alley, a woman with a horned Viking helmet, and Dude Lebowski in a toolbelt would be my favorite music-video-within-a-movie ever, but it is. If I recall, he just dropped in to see what condition his condition was in.


Most suspenseful scenes:

Stand by Me -- boys on the train trestle
Blood Simple -- ending
The Flight of the Phoenix (1965) -- starting the engine
*Wait Until Dark -- attack in the apartment
The Deer Hunter -- Russian roulette
The Birds -- arrival of the birds on the jungle-gym
No Country for Old Men -- coin toss at the gas station
The Godfather -- Michael shooting McCluskey and Sollozzo
The Silence of the Lambs -- night-vision in the basement
Reservoir Dogs -- Michael Madsen scene, in the garage ("Fire Is Scary.")

*I first saw Wait Until Dark in college. I thought then--and I still do--that the lights-out, cat-and-mouse battle between Audrey Hepburn and Alan Arkin was the most riveting thing I'd ever seen. If this one doesn't scare you, and make you root for the heroine, nothing will.


Funniest scenes:

Airplane! -- "Oh, stewardess--I speak jive."
Raising Arizona -- "Son, you got a panty on your head."
Hot Shots, Part Deux -- rescuing the colonel from jail cell
Liar, Liar -- lawyer being honest with lady in the elevator
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels -- "May I go to the bathroom first?"
Me, Myself, and Irene -- baby-feeding scene, on bench
*Blazing Saddles -- campfire symphony
My Big Fat Greek Wedding -- headphone cord scene
Rustler's Rhapsody -- "Got a match?"
Ferris Bueller's Day Off -- Mr. Rooney and Ferris's sister

*I first saw the campfire scene from BS (probably a good alternate title for the movie) in a theater in L.A. in 1974, and I still remember that it brought the house down. NOTE: Please understand that all these favorites are sort of "guilty-pleasure" funny--the kind of things that made me laugh until it hurt. If you want intelligent funny, watch an episode of Cheers, Frasier, M*A*S*H, Newhart, Seinfeld, etc.


Best endings:

A Fistful of Dollars -- "Load up and shoot."
*Signs
The Shawshank Redemption
The Searchers -- "Let's go home, Debbie."
The Black Stallion
Die Hard
The Last Sunset -- "Primroses."
Dead Poets Society -- "O Captain, my Captain."
Cool Hand Luke -- montage
An Officer and a Gentleman -- "Way to go, Paula. Way to go."

*The odd thing about the last fifteen minutes of Signs is that most of my writer/reader/moviegoer friends don't even like the movie. But I think that scene is a great example of tying up half a dozen threads of foreshadowing into a powerful and satisfying conclusion. ("Swing away, Merrill.")


Best surprise endings:

The Sixth Sense
Presumed Innocent
Fight Club
Chinatown -- "She's my sister and my daughter."
Primal Fear -- "We're a great team, you and me."
The Village
Planet of the Apes
Body Heat
The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
*The Usual Suspects -- "And just like that . . . he's gone."

*The two-part conclusion of The Usual Suspects (the first part in the office, the second out on the sidewalk) still gives me goosebumps. In addition to the twist, it includes one of my favorite movie lines: "The best trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist."



Best scenes, period:

Apocalypse Now -- helicopter attack
Psycho -- the root cellar
Saving Private Ryan -- storming Omaha Beach
Witness -- bad guys walking downhill toward the farm
It's a Wonderful Life -- ending ("Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.")
*Once Upon a Time in the West -- opening ("Looks like we're one horse shy.")
Pulp Fiction -- quoting Ezekiel
Twelve Angry Men -- the "same knife" scene ("I'm just saying a coincidence is possible.")
Casablanca -- Ilsa, at the piano ("Play it, Sam.")
True Romance -- "Sicilian" scene ("Tell me--before I do some damage you won't walk away from.")

*I think everything about that first long scene at the train station in Once Upon a Time in the West is cinematic perfection: the creaky windmill, the facial expressions, the humor, the music, the lighting, the way the protagonist is introduced, the steady buildup of tension to an explosive climax. It's another of those "mini-stories" I mentioned earlier--and my favorite movie scene of all time (not just in the West).



Other scenes that I liked a lot: the arrival of Omar Sharif in Lawrence of Arabia; shooting the bucket in Quigley Down Under; the first sight of the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park; the two "Do I feel lucky?" scenes in Dirty Harry; the final shootout in L.A. Confidential; the "Is it you?" scene in Somewhere in Time; the death of Oddjob in Goldfinger; the openings of Cliffhanger, The Shining, Midnight Cowboy, and The Magnificent Seven; and the endings of Rudy, M*A*S*H, Brassed Off, Hombre, Breathless (1983), The Cider House Rules, Carousel, Forrest Gump, Back to the FutureBonnie and Clyde, Cat Ballou, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.


Okay, so I got a little carried away--and remember, all these choices should be preceded by "In my opinion only."

What think you, about all this? Any agreements, or disagreements? Any favorite scenes, or favorite lines of dialogue in scenes? If so, goody goody. If not, I'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog too.

Now, I wish we could chat longer, but I'm having an old friend for dinner.

Anybody up for a toga party?





03 December 2014

Short thoughts from Long Beach




by Robert Lopresti

I was in Long Beach, California back in mid-November for Bouchercon, the International Mystery Convention.  Attached is a photo of the SleuthSayers who were in attendance: Rob, Eve, Melodie, and Brian.  R.T. was apparently  demonstrating his skill at disguise.

Bcon - four days of 2000 readers and writers - is overwhelming, so I don't know what to cover.  One highlight, new to me, was Speed Dating.  A continental breakfast was provided.  You picked yours up, sat at one of about seventy tables and every five minutes a bell rang.  When it rang two writers would trot over to your table and each would have two minutes to explain why you wanted to read their book.  I definitely copied down some names for future purchase. 


But my favorite parts of the Dating event were two:  Lisa Fernow describing her book as "sexy cozy."  Doesn't that exactly capture it?  And Michael H. Rubin was able to rattle his elevator speech off so perfectly that it was as if a trained actor was reading it off the book cover.  He got applause at every table.

Another highlight for me was the panel  "Short but Mighty," in which I discussed  short stories with Travis Richardson, Barb Goffman, Art Taylor, Paul D. Marks, and Craig Faustus Buck.  During a discussion of Plotters versus Pantsers (do you plot or fly by the seat of your pants?) Barb Goffman took a firm stand:  "I'm a plantser."  

Plus I got to chat with my two of my favorite editors, Linda Landrigan and Janet Hutchings, and meet another: Andrew Gulli.  

 And I have to admit it was a great joy to pick up my Derringer Award (as I'm sure Melodie would agree).  Thanks to everyone at the Short Mystery Fiction Society for making that possible.  If you want to hear my brief acceptance speech, here it is.


As you probably know, I love a good quote, so I will leave you with a bundle from Bcon.  Each was copied feverishly into my notebook at the time so I apologize to anyone whose words I garbled. Some of the quotations would benefit from context, but I am not going to give you any.  Here's why. 

By the time you are halfway through a Bouchercon you are so overstimulated that everything seems out of context.  (Notice our picture above seems a little blurry?  That was taken on the last day and we really were blurry.)  So consider this an accurate reenactment of the experience.  Enjoy.

"All great novels are mysteries."  - Sharon Fiffer

"Short stories exist only to stun you." - Jeffrey Deaver

"Does this novel make me look fat?" -Mara Purl

"I write short stories for the purpose of procrastination."  - Craig Faustus Buck

Moderator: How do you avoid cliches?
Brad Parks: I take it one day at a time.

"This is a really British novel.  Not cute British.  The other British.  Everyone's got a bad cough and a brown couch."  - Catriona McPherson

Waitress: So you're with the mystery convention!  Are you writers or readers?
Steven Steinbock: We are all murderers.

"I got a letter that said 'are you retired or are you dead?'" -Thomas Perry

"I have a short attention span.  I'm like a goldfish on cocaine sometimes." -Jay Stringer

"Nonfiction is about facts.  Fiction is about truth." - Mara Purl

"I'm the wrong person to ask about that, but I'll answer it anyway."  - Steven Steinbock

"If my story featured a hemophiliac it would take place in a razor blade factory." - Simon Wood

"Put him down for a whimper, not a bang." - Brian Thornton

"The story is not the plot."  -David Rich

"Westlake said to the movie producer: 'If you don't like the book why did you buy it?  Do you want to punish it?'" - Thomas Perry

"Don't kill your darlings.  Just lock them in the basement."  - Jon McGoran

"Panelists, do you have any questions for the audience?"  - Kevin B. Smith

"Everyone's in the cake.  No one's in the frosting." - Seth Harwood

"You don't choose your obsessions.  They choose you."  - Jodi Compton

"I'm not ashamed to say I write to a formula.  We don't get into a car that hasn't been designed to a formula."  - Jeffrey Deaver

  "Good storytelling requires that you be a good listener." - Steve Steinbock

"I had ethics in those days." - Thomas Perry

 "I'm going to turn it over to the crowd.  They're dangerous because they're hungover and they're punchy." - Claire Toohey

Craig Faustus Buck: How many lungs do you have?
Max Allan Collins: How many do you need?

Next time: the odd phenomenon of books, those flat dead tree things, at Bouchercon.

30 August 2014

Why Writers Drink


By Melodie Campbell

“Recent studies show that approximately 40% of writers are manic depressive. The rest of us just drink.” (I sold this to a comedian during my comedy writing years.)

THE ARTFUL GODDAUGHTER launches this Monday on Amazon, Kobo and in bookstores.
This is the third book in the Derringer and Arthur Ellis Award-winning comedy series about a reluctant mob Goddaughter who can’t seem to leave the family business.

As it happens, I also finished writing the 4th book of the trilogy <sic> this week.  I am now in that stage of euphoria mixed with abject fear.  Here’s why:

Below are the 8 stages of birthing a novel, and why fiction writers drink.

THE STAGE OF:
1.  JOY – You are finished your manuscript.  Damn, it’s good!  The best thing you’ve written, and it’s ALL DONE and on deadline!  Time to open the Glenlivet.

2.  ANGST -  You submit manuscript to your publisher.  Yes, even though they’ve already published 5 of your novels, you still don’t know if they will publish this one.  Will they like it?  Is it as funny as you think it is?  Is it garbage?  Glenlivet is required to get through the next few days/weeks.

3.  RELIEF - They send you a contract – YAY!  You are not a has-been!  Your baby, which was a year in the making (not merely 9 months) will have a life!
Glenlivet is required to celebrate.

4.  ASTONISHMENT – The first round of edits come back.  What do they mean you have substantive changes to make?  That story was PERFECT, dammit!  They got the 15th draft, not the 1st.  Commiserate with other writers over Glenlivet in the bar at The Drake. 

5.  CRIPPLING SELF-DOUBT – The changes they require are impossible.  You’ll never be able to keep it funny/full of high tension, by taking out or changing that scene.  What about the integrity?  Motivation? And what’s so darn bad about being ‘too slapstick,’ anyway?  This is comedy! 
Can’t sleep.  Look for Glenlivet.

6.  ACCEPTANCE – Okay, you’re rewriting, and somehow it’s working.  Figured out how to write around their concerns.  New scene is not bad.  Not as good as the original, of course (why couldn’t they see that) but still a good scene.  Phew.  You’re still a professional. 
Professionals drink Glenlivet, right?

7.  JOY – They accept all your changes!  YAY!  All systems go. This baby will have a life. 
Celebrate the pending birth with a wee dram of Glenlivet.

8.  ANGST -  Are they kidding?  THAT’S the cover? 

Melodie Campbell drinks Glenlivet just south of Toronto, and lurks at www.melodiecampbell.com.  To be clear, she loves the cover of The Artful Goddaughter (Orca Books).  




12 April 2014

On the Wire


by John M. Floyd

A few nights ago, I watched the final episode of the final season of the HBO series The Wire. I came into this project a little late--most of my writer friends had already seen the series in real-time, week by week, during its run from 2002 to 2008. I watched it on DVD, but thank goodness I never heard any spoilers beforehand and went through the whole sixty episodes without any prior knowledge or preconceived ideas. And I can now tell you this: The Wire is one of the best TV shows I've ever seen. Great setting, great acting, and--above all else--great writing.


Much has been said about this series, especially its authenticity and production values. I won't bore you with a rehash of all that, except to say that it's an extremely honest, gritty, and realistic view of the police and the drug trade and the press and city politics. And it's done nothing but reinforce my belief that HBO has created some of the best series on television: The Sopranos, Rome, Deadwood, The Newsroom, Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, and others.

Street talk

We writers love things like good storylines and character arcs, and--probably because its screenwriters included novelists like Dennis Lehane and George Pelecanos--The Wire had some of the best. Those of you who saw the whole series might especially remember the journey of drug addict Reginald "Bubbles" Cousins, but there were many others as well. The show also consistently delivered smart, snappy, believable dialogue.

Speaking of dialogue (speaking of dialogue?), my mission today is to give you some of what I consider the best quotes from The Wire. The characters who spoke these lines will live forever in my memory, but--since my memory is certainly not the best--some of the following quotes are paraphrased.


A man must have a code. -- Detective Bunk Moreland

I ain't no suit-wearing businessman like you. I'm just a gangsta, I suppose. -- Avon Barksdale

McNulty, I hold you in contempt. / Who doesn't? -- Judge Daniel Phelan and Detective Jimmy McNulty

It's Baltimore, gentlemen. The gods will not save you. -- Police Commissioner Ervin Burrell

A lie ain't a side of a story. It's just a lie. -- victim of inaccurate newspaper article

A life, Jimmy. It's the s*** that happens while you wait for moments that never come. -- Detective Lester Freamon

The game is out there. And it's either play, or get played. It's that simple. -- Omar Little

Did he have hands? Did he have a face? Yes? Then it wasn't us. -- Russian mobster

Hell, if you can't win the war on drugs in a prison, where the hell you gonna win it? -- McNulty

Pawns, man, in the game--they get capped quick. They be out the game early. -- D'Angelo Barksdale

Look around. The pond is shrinkin', the fish are nervous. -- Baltimore Sun editor, after a recent downsizing

For you I would suggest some pant-suits, perhaps, muted in color. Something to offset Detective Moreland's pinstriped lawyerly affectations and the brash, tweedy impertinence of Detective Freamon. -- Sgt. Jay Landsman

The thing is, you only got to f*** up once. Be a little slow, a little late, just once. And how you gonna never be slow, never be late? You can't plan for no s*** like this, man. It's life. -- Avon, to D'Angelo

There ain't no rules for dope fiends. -- "Bubbles" Cousins

He was a dead man when he opened his mouth. He's just walkin' around not knowin' it. -- Marlo Stanfield

I look at you these days and you know what I see? I see a man without a country. Not smart enough for this right here. And maybe, just maybe, not smart enough for them out there. -- Avon, to Stringer Bell

You can't even call this a war. / Why not? / Wars end. -- Officers Carter and Herc

You're stealing from those who themselves are stealing the lifeblood from our city. You are a parasite who-- / Just like you, man. / Excuse me? / I got the shotgun, you got the briefcase. -- Omar and attorney Maurice Levy, in court

You follow the drugs, you get the drug addicts and the drug dealers. But you start to follow the money . . . and you don't know where it's gonna take you. -- Lester Freamon

I will kick his ass. But the next morning I'll still wake up white in a city that ain't. / Just a weak-ass mayor in a broke-ass city. -- Tommy Carcetti and Norman Wilson, discussing upcoming election

That's my money. / Man, money ain't got no owners. Only spenders. -- Marlo and Omar

We used to make s*** in this country. Build s***. Now we just put our hand in the next guy's pocket. -- dockworker Frank Sabotka

You put fire to everything you touch, McNulty, and then you walk away while it burns. -- Freamon

Making robberies into larcenies. Making rapes disappear. You juke the stats, and majors become colonels. -- Detective Roland "Prez" Pryzbylewski

The bigger the lie, the more they believe. -- Bunk Moreland


Murder ain't no thang, but this here--this is some assassination s***. -- Slim Charles

Ain't no shame in holdin' onto grief. As long as you make room for other things too. -- Bubbles

What exactly do you do for a living, Mr. Little? / I robs drug dealers. / How does a man rob drug dealers for eight or nine years and live to tell about it? / A day at a time, I suppose. -- prosecutor and Omar, in court

It's a cold world, Bodie. / I thought you said it was gettin' warmer. / World goin' one way, people another, yo. -- Poot Carr and Bodie Broadus

You put a textbook in front of these kids, put a problem on the blackboard, teach them every problem in some statewide test, it won't matter. None of it. Cause they're not learning for our world. They're learning for theirs. -- ex-cop Bunny Colvin

You'd rather live in s*** than let the world see you work a shovel. -- Lt. Cedrick Daniels

You come at the king, you best not miss. -- Omar

What makes you think they'll promote the wrong man? / We do it all the time. -- Daniels and Burrell


On the boardwalk

One more favorite quote. This isn't from The Wire--it's from an episode in the second season of Boardwalk Empire, another great HBO series. A Catholic priest, hoping to receive a donation to the church, is speaking to the wife of Atlantic City gangster Nucky Thompson. Again, I'm paraphrasing:

A man once was invited to visit both heaven and hell. First he went to hell, where all the tormented souls were sitting at tables laden with food, yet they were starving and howling with hunger. Each soul had a spoon, but the spoons were so long that they couldn't get them into their mouths. Their frustration was their torment.

Then he visited heaven. In heaven, to his amazement, the man found the souls of the blessed sitting at similar tables laden with food, but they were all fed and contented. Each had a spoon and the spoons were just as long as the spoons in hell, but they were able to eat all they needed . . . because they were feeding each other.


Who says you can't pick up a life lesson from a TV show?

At least that's the excuse I make to my wife

17 May 2012

A Word About Crime


by Robert Lopresti

A few years ago I showed you a list of some of my favorite quotes from mystery writers.  Here are some quotes more or less about crime, but not from crime writers.

St. George, patron saint of police officers
"If the bad guys don't get you, baby, then the good guys will." -Buffe Saint-Marie

 "How dare you stand there with every evidence of a criminal nature showing in your attitude and demeanor and conceal from the authorities the reason for your arrest?" -Don Marquis

 "If a man stopped me in the street and demanded of me my watch, I should refuse to give it to him. If he threatened to take it by force, I feel I should, though not a fighting man, do my best to protect it. If, on the other hand, he should assert his intention of trying to obtain it by means of an action in any court of law, I should take it out of my pocket and hand it to him, and think I had got off cheaply." -Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men On The Bummel

"There is no emissary for an evil deed." -David Twersky

"Drug conspiracy cases may be just the answer for budget-conscious (government) agencies." -Gregory D. Lee, FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, 10/94

"Hate-on-the-highway is an institution occupying a high place in our modern civilization....The godawful glares that drivers exchange as they pass each other, the mutual hatred between motorist and pedestrian, these manifestations seem to constitute the ultimate in righteous wrath." -H. Allen Smith, 1947
 
"Murder, robbery, rape, adultery and incest will openly be taught and practiced." -The Connecticut Courant reacting to Thomas Jefferson's election to the presidency

" The law is like rope...useful, necessary, strong, but it can be bent and twisted into all kinds of shapes depending on the occasion." - W.P. Kinsella

"Clowns were humanity's first 'policemen.'" -Joy Thompson

"Sometimes we may rely too much on law and Constitution and statutes." -Robert Ray, special prosecutor

"The heavens may fall, the earth may be consumed, but the right of a congressman to lie and defame remains inviolate." -George Creel, 1920

"(Librarians have) got their radical factions, like the Ruby Ridge or Waco types." -Judith Platt, spokesperson for the Association of American Publishers, 2001

"If any person has sung or composed against another person a song which is slanderous and insulting he shall be clubbed to death." -The Twelve Tables (first laws of Rome, 494 B.C.)

"Monsters work seven days a week and don't take vacations." -Geoffrey Canada

"Did it ever occur to anyone that if you put nice libraries in public schools you wouldn't have to put them in prisons?" -Fran Lebowitz

My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building." - Ann Coulter

"The FBI, however well-intentioned, is not in the business of providing emergency road services, and might well have better things to do when listening in than respond with such services..." -Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturning an FBI request to eavesdrop via cars' onboard navigational systems.

"This particular American view of 'success' ...as near as I can make it out, is the ability to keep out of jail." -Charles Dudley Warner, 1896

"Let Lawyers, Parsons, and Physicians loose, to rob, impose on, and to kill the World." -Henry Fielding, in Tom Thumb, 1730

"Some days I don't know if I should laugh or call the police." -Cecil Adams