It is not good to talk about Zen because Zen is nothingness ... If you talk about it you are always lying, and if you don't talk about it no one knows it is there... Science could not teach me how to understand girls sitting in my class, even... (Why, for example, should a group of simple, stable compounds of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen struggle for billions of years to organise themselves into a professor of chemistry? What's the motive?)
In an interview with Tim Adams in the Observer, 19 November 2006
History was a trash bag of random coincidences torn open in a wind. Surely Watt, with his steam engine, Faraday with his electric motor, and Edison with his incandescent light bulb did not have it as their goal to contribute to a fuel shortage some day that would place their countries at the mercy of Arab oil.
In "Good as Gold".
Much the best thing since the ineffable Catch-22, and a comprehensive demolition job that would make Christopher Hitchens proud, I expect.
Often a powerful illustration became the occasion for a story rather than the other way around. Speed of production was everything. There was a wealth of retrograde, stereotypical bromides embedded in the pulps, and the impetus was simply to entertain the escapist fantasies of a grimly stratified, imaginatively constipated, lethally conformist era, continually recycling whichever stock villains, deadly threats, sexual innuendoes and combat paraphernalia had proved their appeal at the newsstand.
Reviewing Adam Parfrey's "It's a Man's World".
I liked the American trashy pulp magazines of the 1950s, probably in direct proportion to the extent my mother loathed them. (And kept throwing my [now, priceless] copies out!)
Round like a shot
Going to bed the other night, I noticed people in my shed stealing things. I phoned the police but was told no one was in the area to help. They said they would send someone over as soon as possible.
I hung up. A minute later, I rang again. 'Hello,' I said, 'I called you a minute ago because there were people in my shed. You don't have to hurry now, because I've shot them.'
Within minutes there were half a dozen police cars in the area, plus helicopters and an armed response unit. They caught the burglars red-handed.
One of the officers said: 'I thought you said you'd shot them.'
To which I replied: 'I thought you said there was no one available.'
All the hallmarks of an urban legend, though I've seen an image of a newspaper clipping...