• Cocktails,  jazz,  Theology

    Thanksgiving Notebook: Bing, Booze, Book of Common Prayer

    Unlike the music of Christmas or Easter, the music of Thanksgiving is harder to pinpoint.  Shuffling leaves?  The drum-brush strokes of a knife carving the turkey?  Vince Guaraldi, an early lead-up to Christmas through the dim or vivid Charlie Brown television-memories of readers of a certain age?  An uncertain business, but here are a couple of thoughts. First, when in doubt, start in the seventeenth century.  The “Te Deum & Jubilate for Voices and Instruments made for St. Cecilia’s Day 1694” of Henry Purcell was apparently performed as a Thanksgiving piece, as noted by Michael Evans Kinney and the Stanford libraries: While not much is known about the early St.…

  • Books,  Cocktails,  Crime Fiction,  jazz

    Southern Comfort, Niall Ferguson and Peter Gunn

    Cocktails, books, jazz, and crime. COCKTAILS Crude and low-fi, one’s early-life alcohol memories resonate, but they do so uneasily in our era of craft beers and hyper-precious cocktails. I spent the first semester of my junior year in high school at a lycee in Clermont-Ferrand, France, a city in Auvergne known primarily as the global headquarters of Michelin.  A classmate and I broke into his father’s liquor cabinet and downed half a bottle of a dreadful eau-de-vie.  I barely made it back to the home of my host family, doubtless thinking I was some combination of Albert Camus and Jacques Brel. But one flavor from those early years, once I…