"When an old and distinguished person speaks to you, listen to him carefully and with respect – but do not believe him. Never put your trust in anything but your own intellect. Your elder, no matter whether he has gray hair or lost his hair, no matter whether he is a Nobel Laureate, may be wrong... So you must always be skeptical – always think for yourself." --Linus Pauling



"What is friendship? It’s telephoning a friend at night to say, ‘Be a pal, get your gun and come over quickly’ – and hearing the reply, ‘O.K., be right there.’ " -- Jean-Pierre Melville

The French have an aspect of romantic fatalism to their culture that I find completely irresistible. You can see it in things as Mallory's Le Morte d'Arthur and The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. It's unmistakable in Casablanca (which while not being French was hugely influenced by Julien Duvivier's 1936 film Pepe Le Moko. Bogart was a film icon in Paris years before he became one in the US.

Along these lines, the Criterion Collection is going to release Le Circle Rouge. It will make a nice companion to Bob Le Flambeur. The French understand something about film noir. They coined the term.

My mother died back in June. The day of her funeral (miserable in so many ways), I checked my e-mail and found this. It was an e-mail from Jeremy. He claims to have seen it in a dream. It cheered me immensely. I don't even have dreams about myself where I come off that cool, but I've started.

He's probably the kind of friend Melville was going on about.