This is the "burglar-alarm" theory of bioluminescence: by turning on its lights, an animal may create enough of a scene to draw the attention of its predator's predator, and thereby perhaps save itself. The corollary of the burglar-alarm theory is the minefield theory. It says the reason so many animals tend to hang motionless in the deep, even fish, is to avoid setting off light explosions that would expose them to their enemies - their predators or their prey. Life in the midwater, in this view, is a tense affair (though the denizens do not know it) in which everyone is waiting stealthily in the dark, moving slowly if at all, watching and waiting for someone to turn on a light and for something to happen.
If you ask any ordinary reader which of Dickens's proletarian characters he can remember, the three he is almost certain to mention are Bill Sykes, Sam Weller and Mrs. Gamp. A burglar, a valet and a drunken midwife-not exactly a representative cross-section of the English working class.
When I was young and we got caught pinching apples, we got a smack from the local policeman. Today if that happened he would be sued. There is a tendency to punish the victim, not the criminal. If someone broke into my house or my mum's house, I worry that the burglar has more rights than me.
Biography is the medium through which the remaining secrets of the famous dead are taken from them and dumped out in full view of the world. The biographer at work, indeed, is like the professional burglar, breaking into a house, rifling through certain drawers that he has good reason to think contain the jewelry and money, and triumphantly bearing his loot away.
The best of Donald Westlake's pseudonymous thrillers about Parker, the toughest burglar who ever lived. . . .Out of print for years and years, Butcher's Moon is the ultimate Parker novel, best read as an installment in the series as a whole but comprehensible and wholly satisfying on its own.
I have wished you dead and myself dead. How could it be otherwise. I have broken into you like a burglar. And you've set your dogs on me. And a pile of broken sticks. A child could kick. I have climbed you like a monument, gasoing, For the exercise and the view, And leaned over the railing at the top... Strong and warm, the summer wind.
What is any political campaign save a concerted effort to turn out a set of politicians who are admittedly bad and put in a set who are thought to be better. The former assumption, I believe is always sound; the latter is just as certainly false. For if experience teaches us anything at all it teaches us this: that a good politician, under democracy, is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.
H. L. Mencken
Do you believe in God? Perhaps you aren't old enough. The reason old people believe in God is because they've given up believing in anything else, and one can't exist without faith in something.... God is a sort of burglar. As a young man you knock him down; as an old man, you try to conciliate him because he may knock you down. Moral: don't grow old.
The vast results obtained by Science are won by no mystical faculties, by no mental processes other than those which are practicedby every one of us, in the humblest and meanest affairs of life. A detective policeman discovers a burglar from the marks made by his shoe, by a mental process identical with that by which Cuvier restored the extinct animals of Montmartre from fragments of their bones.
Put in hours and hours of planning, figure everything down to the last detail, then what? Burglar alarms start going off all overthe place for no sensible reason. A gun fires of its own accord and a man is shot. And a broken-down old house no good for anything but chasing kids has to trip over us. Blind accidents. What can you do against blind accidents?
The soldier is convinced that a certain indefinitely extendable time period is accorded him before he is killed, the burglar before he is caught, men in general, before they must die. That is the amulet which preserves individuals "" and sometimes populations "" not from danger, but from the fear of danger, in reality from the belief in danger, which in some cases allows them to brave it without being brave. Such a confidence, just as unfounded, supports the lover who counts on a reconciliation, a letter.
An infant prodigy of nine is shoved upon the stage in white. She starts off in a dismal whine about a dark and stormy night, a burglar, whose heart is true, despite his wicked-looking face, who puts the little child in doom, to save her mamma's jewel case. This may bring tears to every eye; it does not set my heart on fire. I'd like to stand serenely by and watch that horrid child expire.
I am deep in my willed habits. From the outside, I suppose I look like an unoccupied house with one unconvincing night-light left on. Any burglar could look through my curtains and conclude I am empty. But he would be mistaken. Under that one light unstirred by movement or shadows there is a man at work, and as long as I am at work I am not a candidate for Menlo Park, or that terminal facility they cynically call a convalescent hospital, or a pine box. My habits and the unchanging season sustain me. Evil is what questions and disrupts.
In relation to God, we are like a thief who has burgled the house of a kindly householder and been allowed to keep some of the gold. From the point of view of the lawful owner this gold is a gift; Form the point of view of the burglar it is a theft. He must go and give it back. It is the same with our existence. We have stolen a little of God's being to make it ours. God has made us a gift of it. But we have stolen it. We must return it.
Depression is not dramatic, but it is total. It's sneaky - you almost don't notice it at first. Like a cat burglar, it comes in through an open window while you're sleeping. It takes little things at first; your appetite, your desire to return phone calls. Then it comes back for the big stuff, like your will to live. Then next thing you know, your legs are filled with sand. The thought of brushing your teeth fills you with dread, it seems like such an impossible task. Suddenly you're living your life in black and white - nothing is bright, nothing is pretty anymore. Music sounds tinny and distant. Things you found funny seem dull and off-key.
Who is he anyhow, an actor?" "No." "A dentist?" "... No, he's a gambler." Gatsby hesitated, then added cooly: "He's the man who fixed the World Series back in 1919." "Fixed the World Series?" I repeated. The idea staggered me. I remembered, of course, that the World Series had been fixed in 1919, but if I had thought of it at all I would have thought of it as something that merely happened, the end of an inevitable chain. It never occurred to me that one man could start to play with the faith of fifty million people-with the singlemindedness of a burglar blowing a safe. "How did he happen to do that?" I asked after a minute. "He just saw the opportunity." "Why isn't he in jail?" "They can't get him, old sport. He's a smart man.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
I have read of a gentleman who owned a so fine house in London, and when he went for months of summer to Switzerland and lock up his house, some burglar came and broke window at back and got in. Then he went and made open the shutters in front and walk out and in through the door, before the very eyes of the police. Then he have an auction in that house, and advertise it, and put up big notice; and when the day come he sell off by a great auctioneer all the goods of that other man who own them. Then he go to a builder, and he sell him that house, making an agreement that he pull it down and take all away within a certain time. And your police and other authority help him all they can. And when that owner come back from his holiday in Switzerland he find only an empty hole where his house had been. This was all done en re¨gle; and in our work we shall be en re¨gle too. We shall not go so early that the policemen who have then little to think of, shall deem it strange; but we shall go after ten o'clock, when there are many about, and such things would be done were we indeed owners of the house.
Every time you open a book for the first time, there is something akin to safe-breaking about it. Yes, that's exactly it: the frantic reader is like a burglar who has spent hours digging a tunnel to enter the strongroom of a bank. He emerges face to face with hundreds of strongboxes, all identical, and opens them one by one. And each time a box is opened, it loses its anonymity and becomes unique: one is filled with paintings, another with a bundle of banknotes, a third with jewels or letters tied in ribbon, engravings, objects of no value at all, silverware, photos, gold sovereigns, dried flowers, files of paper, crystal glasses, or children's toys-and so on. There is something intoxicating about opening a new one, finding its contents and feeling overjoyed that in a trice one is no longer in front of a set of boxes, but in the presence of the riches and wretched banalities that make up human existence.