The Bull Hunter by Dan Denning

Within the first minute and 34 seconds you know you are going to understand this book because Denning quotes James Dyson:

“Of the world’s ten largest corporations by revenue, 9 make big, heavy things, like cars.”

This is easy to follow, sensible stuff – and just the kind of obviousness that industrial strength money market manuals pass over.

Give him time, and Denning will explain a lot of “obvious” things. For example, that you can’t automatically grow rich by buying stocks. Or that you can’t automatically stay rich by being an American. Or that just because you live in America doesn’t mean you can’t invest in anything but fictional (paper) assets. Or that a bear is called a bear because once upon a time when traders were also hunters, bear skin jobbers sold skins from bears they had not yet caught. By entering into these early futures contracts, the hunters were guaranteed a fixed price. By “selling short” they lost out on the possibility of getting a higher price for their bear skins in the future. The practice came to describe those who sold short on a stock or commodity.

In fact, within the first 13 minutes, the ‘obvious’ no longer is.

Home ownership, Denning writes in 2005, is “the new serfdom” and paints a picture of a housing bubble where no equity is built and no real ownership is achieved. Combine falling home prices with increases in monthly payments AND a flat income, writes Denning, and you get trouble. In other words, you get 2008.

The Bull Hunter

Fiddlers by Ed McBain read by Charles Stransky

We get information in clumps, tangles, bunches. There are facts, mixed up with opinions, references, foreign words, sounds and descriptions referring to where we are talking, what is going on where we are talking, the distraction-ridden machinery of a technologically frenzied environment, analogies dragged in from confused personal archives, elaborations drawing on gossip, rumours, and mother disciplines, percentages, abbreviations, brand-names, phrases in mixed tongues, side notes referencing the inaccuracies of the company we keep and the associations we accumulate.

Dialogue. Which is what McBain does. Consider Carella and Parker questioning an ex-boyfriend:

So tell us how you happened to break up?

It was the Passion. The Mel Gibson movie. I told Alicia it was Anti-semitic. She disagreed. I’m Jewish; we got into an argument.

So whose idea was it to split up?

My mother’s. I live with my mother. She said if we were going to fight already over a farkaktmovie that was just the beginning…..I hate Mel Gibson.

Thirty seconds to peel a character like an egg.

Ollie Weeks is asking Parker for advise because Ollie was kissed in the mouth by Patricia the other night after he played piano for her family. Yes, this is the fat, suspicious, comical sociopath who hates everyone equally. Except that now he has a sweet piano teacher, and a sweet girlfriend and is looking ten pounds less hateful.

Kling, meanwhile, is asking Carella for advise. About Sharon, who he loves and whom he followed and who now refuses to talk to him.

“Everybody’s always innocent, Brown said. Nobody ever did anything. Catch ’em with the bloody hatchet in their hands they say this ain’t my hatchet this is my uncle’s hatchet…Wonder anybody’s in jail at all there’s so many innocent people around….

Brown and Kling are interviewing the head of Baldwin University’s English Department who is wearing a purple butterfly bow tie and telling Brown that “we’ve never anything like this happen before….”. Brown is wondering if his wife Caroline would go for him in a tie like that one…

Because conversations are never just about information and even information is never just about information. Because even cops hear by drifting in and out of their own conversations. Hearing from where they are being heard.

Welcome to Temptation by J. Crusie read by Aasne Vigesaa(!)

Welcome to Temptation by J. Crusie read by Aasne Vigesaa(!)

Sophie and Amy Dempsy are listening to Dusty Springfield on the car radio, Amy filming the “Welcome to Tempatation” road sign from behind her pink rhinestone sunglasses and Sophie not paying attention. When they crash, how does Sophie get them out of it?

1. Make the mark smile.
2. Get the mark to agree with you.
3. Make the mark feel superior.
4. Give the mark something.

Add these to your interview techniques. They work, when punctuated with a Dempsey “gotta love me” smile and a cool, smooth, pretty voice, like that of a reader with an unpronounceable name (Aasne Vigessa?)…

The one girly girl book that’s not just for girls.

Date: 02/13/2005 8:24 am