Later, over cigarettes and coffee, Perry returned to the subject of thievery. “My friend Willie-Jay used to talk about it. He used to say that all crimes were only varieties of theft. Murder included. When you kill a man you steal his life. I guess that makes me a pretty big thief. See, Don – I did kill them. Down there in court, old Dewey made it sound like I was prevaricating – on account of Dick’s mother. Well, I wasn’t. Dick helped me, he held the flashlight and picked up the shells. And it was his idea, too. But Dick didn’t shoot them, he never could’ve – though he’s damn quick when it comes to running down an old dog. I wonder why I did it.” He scowled, as though the problem was new to him, a newly unearthed stone of surprising, unclassified color. “I don’t know why,” he said, as if holding it to the light, and angling it now here, now there. “I was sore at Dick. The tough brass boy. But it wasn’t Dick. Or the fear of being identified. I was willing to take that gamble. And it wasn’t because of anything the Clutters did. They never hurt me. Like other people. Like people have all my life. Maybe it’s just that the Clutters were the ones who had to pay for it.” (Truman Capote, from In Cold Blood)
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Hey, look at that! I’m back in Arizona and I picked up almost two months’ worth of comics! Yeah, I’m not going to review them properly here – that would take waaaaaaaay too long. This is more of a “What I bought and the random thoughts I have about the issues and, why not, what I did in Pennsylvania for seven-and-a-half weeks.” Can you handle that??????
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For it is the greatest truth of our age: information is not knowledge. (Caleb Carr, from Killing Time)
“Fuck what is written,” Landsman says. “You know what?” All at once he feels weary of ganefs and prophets, guns and sacrifices and the infinite gangster weight of God. He’s tired of hearing about the promised land and the inevitable bloodshed required for its redemption. “I don’t care what is written. I don’t care what supposedly got promised to some sandal-wearing idiot whose claim to fame is that he was ready to cut his own son’s throat for the sake of a hare-brained idea. I don’t care about red heifers and patriarchs and locusts. A bunch of old bones in the sand. My homeland is in my hat. It’s in my ex-wife’s tote bag.”
He sits down. He lights another cigarette.
“Fuck you,” Landsman concludes. “And fuck Jesus, too, he was a pussy.” (Michael Chabon, from The Yiddish Policemen’s Union)
Thanks to the mild weather, the trees retained their foliage longer than usual. Red and gold, ocher and amber leaped to the eye. How beautifully the leaves aged on ten thousand twigs! No politics could produce such glory in a forest. Only so natural and simple a thing as death. (Frederic Morton, from A Nervous Splendor: Vienna 1888/1889)
For if the sun is at the center and not the earth, then there are no crystal spheres to hold us in; we have only and always fooled ourselves, we men, kept ourselves within the spheres which our own flawed and insufficient senses perceived, but which were never there at all. The way to ascend through the spheres that hem us in was to know that we had already so ascended, and were on our way, in motion unstoppably. (John Crowley, from Aegypt)
“You remember those birds that were getting sucked into the jet engines? Sometimes I lie in bed at three or four in the morning and I imagine myself flying miles above the earth, very cold, and one of those black secret spy planes is up there with the huge round engines with the spinning blades in it, the blades that look like the underside of mushrooms? The black plane’s going very fast and I’m going very fast in the opposite direction and we intersect, and I fly right through one of those jet engines, and I exit as this long fog of blood. I’m miles long, and, because it’s so cold, I’m crystalline. Very long arms, you’ll be pleased to hear. And then I recondense in bed, sshhp, as my short warm self. It must have something to do with my estrogen level. But that’s what telephone travel would be like out there, I think. What am I saying, that’s what it is like.” (Nicholson Baker, from Vox)
If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of those you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry. (Ernest Hemingway, from A Farewell to Arms)
What can be broken, should be broken. (Dimitri Pisarev, 1840-1868)
“They were lovers of peace,” Gaudior replied shortly. “Your planet does not deal gently with lovers of peace.” (Madeleine L’Engle, from A Swiftly Tilting Planet)
“It never occurs to you that the beautiful princess and the wicked old witch believe exactly the same thing: Anything at all, including cunning and lies, will work for the beautiful; nothing helps the ugly.” (John Gardner, from Freddy’s Book)
I have always pitied poor Abraham. Here he had the sword from his sheath, only seconds away from slitting his son’s throat, and he had to sacrific a ram in his son’s place. What a disappointment it must have been. What a damn tragedy. (Jeremy Leven, from Creator)
My Box of Comics posts usually arrive fashionably late, but in this instance, the party ended weeks ago and the Box of Comics is still picking out a tie. So let’s give a quick look at the really good stuff, the comics worth praising from the past few lunar cycles. I suspect many of you have overlooked some (or all) of these gems. (And again, thanks to the Discount Comic Book Service, and also HeavyInk, for providing me with my regular comics fix.)
This week’s episode of Sunday Brunch is like buying a gallon of skim milk instead of a quart of whole. So you get all the fatty comments from me cut off, but a whole lot of comics nutrients. Something like that, anyway.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK: If Batman was a flower, what flower would Batman be?
“It took me some time to figure out that love is in the details. It’s in the books and records and the stereo and the convertible. Love is always in the details. And that’s where the pain is too.” (John Crowley, from Aegypt)