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Quotes 2002

Fundamentalism, says Carter, means the thinker is absolutely right. "You don't want to learn new facts, because they might disturb your previous opinions. You become convinced that your truths have come from God and anyone who disagrees with you is wrong, and the next step is that they're inferior, and the ultimate case is, they're subhuman. That leads to a lot of the persecution in the world."
Former President Jimmy Carter
Jerome V. Kramer, "Man of his Words", Wired, No. 19, November/December 2001


"I have only so long to live -- so many books to read, so many ironies to contemplate, so many meals to eat."
Rex Stout, Too Many Cooks


"Courtesy is one's own affair, but decency is a debt to life."
Rex Stout, Too Many Cooks


"Not like women? They are astounding and successful animals."
Rex Stout, Too Many Cooks


"All women are [hysterical]. Their moments of calm are merely recuperative periods between outbursts."
Rex Stout, Too Many Cooks


"... a hole in the ice offers peril only to those who go skating."
Rex Stout, Too Many Cooks


"You know very well what life consists of, it consists of the humanities, and among them is a decent and intelligent control of the appetites which we share with dogs. A man doesn't wolf a carcass or howl on a hillside from dusk to dawn; he eats well-cooked food, when he can get it, in judicious quantities; and he suits his ardor to his wise convenience."
Rex Stout, Too Many Cooks


"...it's just that money makes so many problems go away. Anyone who says it can't buy happiness obviously doesn't have any."
Martha Grimes, The Blue Last


"I'd look stupid."

"Well, yes, but when has that ever bothered you?"
Martha Grimes, The Blue Last


"...people don't give much of a damn what you say. It's the way you say it. Knowledge is presentation."
Martha Grimes, The Blue Last


"It has come to my notice that everybody in the world, and I'm including animal and plant species here, does every single thing they do, every toe twitch and eyebrow cock, for one reason and one reason only: To get laid."
Cynthia Heimel, Advanced Sex Tips For Girls


"The purpose of flea markets and antique fairs is to let a woman stroll hither and thither without having to hold her stomach in."
Cynthia Heimel, Advanced Sex Tips For Girls


...there are geeks out there, and they, as geeks, have no social skills at all and would have fared way better had they been brought up by wolves. It is totally possible for a geek -- anyone who has ever, written "code" -- to exhibit all the traits listed above and still be perfectly fine, since he simply read the wrong "how to be a human" manual and can be easily led away from the Sansabelt slacks with a judicious cattle prod.
Cynthia Heimel, Advanced Sex Tips For Girls


"And always remember, it is way, way better to be unhappy on your own than to be unhappy with some loon."
Cynthia Heimel, Advanced Sex Tips For Girls


"... he ... thought about the way bankers always avoided the use of the word 'money', thought of the broad panoply of words they'd invented to replace that crasser term: funds, finances, investments, liquidity, assets. Euphemism was usually devoted to crasser things: death and bodily functions. Did that mean there was something fundamentally sordid about money and that the language of bankers attempted to disguise or deny this fact?"
Donna Leon, The Anonymous Venetian


"She just sits here on the terrace all day and reads. What sort of vacation is that?"
Donna Leon, The Anonymous Venetian


"I think words are fascinating ... take words like 'pecker' and 'prick.' In their vulgar sense, or maybe I should say their colloquial sense."

Without batting an eye I said, "You mean 'prick' as a noun. Not as a verb."

She nodded. "Yes, a noun. It means 'a pointed instrument.' 'Pecker' means 'an instrument for pecking,' aid 'peck' means 'to strike repeatedly and often with a pointed instrument.' So the definition of 'pecker' and 'prick' is identical."

"Sure. I've never looked them up, but evidently you have."

"Of course. In Webster and in the OED. There's an OED at the office. Of course the point is that -- well, well, there's a pun. 'Point.' The point is that they both begin with p, and 'penis' begins with p."

"I'll be damned. It certainly does."

"Yes, I think that may be relevant to that old saying, 'Watch your p's and q's.' But two other words, 'piss' and 'pee' -- p-double-e -- they start with p too. What it is, it's male chauvinism."

"I'm not sure I get that."

... "It's obvious. Women urinate too. So they have to call it 'piss' or 'pee' just because 'penis' begins with p. What if they called it 'viss' or 'vee,' and they made men call it 'viss' or 'vee' too? Would men like that?"

"Viss," I said. "Vee. I don't..." I considered it. "Oh, Vagina."

"Certainly. Virgin too, but that may be just coincidence."

"I admit it's a point. A voint. You may not believe this, but personally I wouldn't object. It even appeals to me. 'Excuse me while I viss.' 'Turn your back while I vee.' I rather like the sound of it."

"I don't believe it, and anyway not many men would. It's male chauvinism. And another point, 'poker' begins with a p too. Why didn't they make it 'poker' instead of 'pecker'? Because a poker is three feet long!"

"It is not. I've never seen a poker three feet long. More like two feet. Possibly thirty inches."

"You're just quibbling. Even two feet." She put her hands out, apparently she thought about two feet apart, but it was about twenty-eight inches. She picked up a pickle. Vickle. "So they couldn't very well call it 'poker.' Take another letter, take f. 'Female' begins with f. What is one of men's favorite four-letter colloquial words that begins with f?"

"Offhand I couldn't say. I'd have to think."

"All right, think."
Rex Stout, Please Pass The Guilt


"...culture was like money, it comes easiest to those who need it least."
Rex Stout, The League Of Frightened Men


"In the labyrinth of any problem that confronts us, we must select the most promising paths; if we attempt to follow all at once we shall arrive nowhere. In any art ... one of the deepest secrets of excellence is a discerning elimination."
Rex Stout, The League Of Frightened Men


"A man may be a blameless citizen one minute and a murderer the next. Up to the moment of his victim's death, he is a man like any other."
Georges Simenon, Maigret's Boyhood Friend


"I don't go in for being sorry for people. For one thing it's insulting. One is only sorry for people when they're sorry for themselves. Self-pity is one of the biggest stumbling blocks in the world today."
Agatha Christie, Destination Unknown


"In every country. In the past as in the present there are always two things that rule. Cruelty and benevolence! One or the other. Sometimes both."
Agatha Christie, Destination Unknown


"Look at her, sitting over there. Go ahead, stare! ... Note the tremulous, pouting lower lip? A sure sign of the unf@#$ed. Sad but true."
Michael Dibdin, And Then You Die


"I don't know how a brain that is never used passes the time."
Rex Stout, The Final Deduction


"It must be that the, ah -- vessel of one's emotions has a limited capacity, that it fills up stealthily, as it were, and then -- a few insignificant drops more, and it overflows."
Ellery Queen, The Player On The Other Side


"...a born executive is a guy who, when anything difficult or unexpected happens, yells for somebody to come and help him."
Rex Stout, The Red Box


"...it is the larger scheme which means nothing. ... It is the small act which means all."
Anne Rice, The Tale Of The Body Thief


"Things don't always get better. They may get better or they may get worse, but it's not an always kind of thing. The only thing that is always is change. Sometimes things change on a regular cycle, like the planting and the growing and the harvesting and the fallowing. Sometimes they change on a bigger cycle, and the smaller cycles change with them or are destroyed. Whether it's good or bad depends on where you stand and what you care about."
Bill Johnson, We Will Drink A Fish Together
Gardner Dozois, The Year's Best Science Fiction (15th Annual Collection)


"...love is the ability to make the invisible visible and the desire always to feel the invisible in one's midst."
Orhan Pamuk, My Name Is Red


"Innocence is a negative and can never be established; you can only establish guilt."
Rex Stout, Some Buried Caesar


"Idylls ... have a bad way of banging up against reality, if, indeed, they were idylls in the first place."
Martha Grimes, The Grave Maurice


"Do we ever stop being thirteen or fourteen? Or six or seven, for that matter? I think we carry all of that around with us; we just have more practice in hiding it."
Martha Grimes, The Grave Maurice


"Hell hath no fury like a geek ignored."
Guy Smith, When Selling Is Like Splicing Genes


"God's sense of humour can be brutal."
Laurie R. King, Justice Hall


"...the dogmas embraced by science tend to be more flexible than those held by theologians. If empirical evidence of God were to appear, science probably would accept it eventually, if grudgingly; while religion, if presented with an empirical disproof of God, might simply refuse to listen."
Gregg Easterbrook, "The New Convergence", Wired, 10.12, December 2002


"...when confronted with a beautiful woman who may be a phantom, an alien, or some kind of machine, Hollywood is more or less required to put one question ahead of all others: Can you have sex with it?"
Gary Wolf, "Solaris 2.0", Wired, 10.12, December 2002