How They Do It

(Overheard in the locker room of the Racquet & Racket Club on Wall Street)


"I shouldn't be saying this but my foundation gave a ton of money last year to my other foundation. All you hear, of course, is how Loffelbein took away $58 billion in bonuses from a bankrupt firm. I'm not a bad guy. And between us?-- I left my wife in that snowbank in Aspen when she shattered her spine for good reason, which my legal counsel advises me not to discuss before we figure it out for the trial. Keep it to yourself but this year I'll be taking home $72, $73 billion, but understand, you have to make more money this year than last year or the Street calls you a loser. I shouldn't talk about my personal life, but my  kids? -just ask them if I was a good father. I think my assistant has their most recent address. And by the way, say hello to your kids.  Just don't attribute it to me."

     -- Hitch Loffelbein, derivatives counter-trading C.T.O. at Smersh & Fixer


 "They call me a rat. Well you know what? I'm flattered. I'm proud to be a rat, because rats never, ever quit.  They're always upfront and no apologies. You never see a rat snivel or shrink from a fight. And they fight dirty. It tells you something, pal, that rats multiply and prosper, and the shy g****m panda bear is close to extinct. C'mon, let's towel-snap that little fat guy!"   

     -- Ralph Swack, chief architect of the Framble-Wiggles widows' and orphans' savings-plunder maneuver.


 "Secret of my success is kind of like Aesop with the turtle and the rabbit. Or maybe it's something else. Anyway, the Windsor knot. It's like Churchill said, more or less, to Stalin at Yalta, you got to separate Berlin and the fast-trackers from the klutzes.  And the Windsor knot does. The Windsor knot got me my first job on the Street.  Wasn't it that guy Spengler or Casey Stengel who said, "The tie goes to the winner"?   Anyway, I've heard it personally that the Bahamas were never governed as well since the Duke ran the place. As Jesus -- or was it Moses? -- put it, or should have, "Suffer the kids but don't send them in to do a man's job"

     -- Zeke Murdstone, trillionaire maverick speculator in postdated, previously revalued futures.


"Drastic plastic was last year. The Street calls it 'cuffing the muffin' nowadays. It's a kind of language we use to shut out the layman, the Feds, and so forth. Like, I'm inside-out on over-the-top undershares but I'm actually doing a Little Orphan Annie as far as the other rippers are concerned -- from Jack himself down to the guys in the panic pit. Right this minute I'm flopping, which translates to sabotaging a sinking fund by calling shorts before they can deuce it. Flopping isn't strictly Legal Fleagal, as we say, so let's call it jacking the ball. Sounds more innocent."

     -- Hargrove Pennington Jr., Pirate King of the Hot-Bond Musketeers    


"I've figured out how dispense with all the intermediaries. I just go out on the Street, find a tourist gawking around, go up to them and say, 'I've got a .45-caliber personal-leverage instrument pointing at your heart.  Transfer to me all your paper currency and credit facilitators immediately.  It's your assets or your existence.' "

      --Robert Barron, CEO, HeistInc


April 24: "[The HST] lifted a curtain from our view of the universe, changing it so profoundly that no human can look at the stars in the same way..."

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.