• Cocktails,  Literature,  Theology

    Christmas: Cocktails and Crime, Choirs and Cool

    A few notes, as Christmas is upon us. First, what to drink? I don’t care for Bloody Marys; they’re too acid.  The best Christmas drinks for morning or lunch are milk punch and the French 75. Here is a Garden & Gun article about (and recipe for) milk punch: And, just this past Thanksgiving, I shared notes about the French 75: Second, what to read? This blog dwells on crime fiction, so consider these “best of 2017” lists from the New York Times — — and from The Guardian, the Wall Street Journal, and The Rap Sheet. Third, what to listen to? I first read about jazz pianist David Ian…

  • Theology

    Christmas Movies and Serial Killers

    Today is the first Sunday in the season of Advent, a time in which Christians traditionally prepare themselves by reflection and prayer for the Incarnation, the birth of Jesus, God made flesh.  Ultimately, of course, Jesus was sacrificed upon the Cross for our sins, and “sacrifice” is a fit subject for Advent reflection: We may think of sacrifice in its patriotic or collective sense, as when we attended a Veterans’ Day parade or when an earlier generation watched a movie about World War II hero Audie Murphy (1925-1971). More commonly, we talk about sacrifice in its individual or instrumental sense, as when we say that an athlete has made sacrifices…

  • Cocktails,  Crime Fiction,  Theology

    White (Collar) Christmas: Gin, Crime, Theology and the Rat Pack

      The hour is upon us, so herewith a few Christmas items. Cocktails Here from the archives is a recipe (via Garden & Gun magazine) for Milk Punch for Christmas Morning and a new recipe for An Old Old-Fashioned   . From our friends at the Gin Monkey blog, a gin drinker’s gift list and from Gastronomista, a recipe for Jagermeister and Rye.  Yikes.       Crime From J. Kingston Pierce of The Rap Sheet, here are 10 of The Most Arresting Crime Novels of 2015. Marilyn Stasio, crime fiction reviewer for the New York Times, sets out her 2015 favorites in Death Takes No Holiday   . Theology From David Zahl at Mockingbird, Consuming 2015:…

  • Literature,  Theology

    Why We Should Ban Any New “Christmas Carol” and Re-Tune Victorian Hymns

    The BBC’s classical music site published this article about the Victorians and Christmas stories.  The Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol is among them, but so too some more obscure (at least, obscure to me) work by George Eliot and others. As novelist John Irving  noted in an introduction to A Christmas Carol, the work is essentially a Christian ghost story about human transformation: Scrooge is such a pillar of skepticism, he at first resists believing in Marley’s Ghost. “You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato. There’s more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you…

  • Cocktails,  Crime Fiction,  Theology

    Crime, Cocktails, Fiction and Scripture: blogs, links and sources on white-collar crime, cocktails, crime fiction and theology

    We have recently updated and supplemented our “Blogs | Links | Sources” page here.  It might be the most useful page on the site, with multiple links to writers and journalists dealing with White Collar Wire’s primary afflictions: white collar crime, cocktails, crime fiction and theology. Blogs|Links|Sources White Collar Generally Walt Pavlo  — excellent source of daily news and commentary.  Also, see his articles in Forbes. PonziTracker — by Jordan Maglich.  The source for all things Ponzi. DealBook — New York Times blog led by Andrew Ross Sorkin. White Collar Crime Prof Blog — thoughtful source edited by Ellen Podgor, with contributions by Solomon Wisenberg. White Collar Watch — by Peter…

  • Appeals,  Poetry,  Theology

    “Appellate Jurisdiction” | Marianne Moore (1887-1972)

    For pondering our appeals of all sorts.   Appellate Jurisdiction by Marianne Moore Fragments of sin are a part of me. New brooms shall sweep clean the heart of me.       Shall they? Shall they? When this light life shall have passed away, God shall redeem me, a castaway.       Shall He? Shall He?   About This Poem “Appellate Jurisdiction” by Marianne Moore was published in the May 1915 issue of Poetry along with four other poems by Moore. Marianne Moore was born in Saint Louis, Missouri, on November 15, 1887. Moore, a former Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, was the recipient of the…

  • Theology,  Trials, Judges and Jurors

    Lawyer Presentations Without PowerPoint: Charles Laughton and The Fiery Furnace

    At trial in a white-collar or civil business case, lawyers sometimes complain that the material or documents they must work with are so old, so familiar or so different from everyday language and commerce that there is no way to keep the attention of judge and jury. Not so.  Just watch as Charles Laughton reads The Fiery Furnace on the Ed Sullivan Show (1960). And, delivered decades before a PowerPoint deck, laser pointer, “elmo” or any other such dreadful presentation tool was available.  (Indeed, delivered without notes, for that matter).   In case you need a transcript go-by, here it is (from Daniel 3:1-30).  Personally, for the most obscure musical…

  • Cocktails,  Crime Fiction,  Theology

    Red Harvest: Crime Fiction and Gospel Conviction

    Pop culture and theology mix fruitfully in pulp-crime fiction. Here’s a four-part course from 2012: Red Harvest: Crime Fiction and Gospel Conviction          . Here’s the blurb that went with the class: Crime fiction, in its varied forms, both illuminates and counterpoints the Gospel.  Crime fiction correctly presents and analyzes the sinful human condition, even where its conclusions are horribly wrong.  And, in crime fiction as nowhere else, the law is most definitely the Law: God did not get after Cain for shoplifting. So: four classes’ worth of dark human hearts and blazing Gospel light, interspersed with mayhem, Augustine, detectives, 1930s pulp novels and the overlooked theological punch from the opening line of The Postman Always Rings…

  • Compliance,  Crime Fiction,  Theology

    Criminals In Ties: Contract Law and Reservoir Dogs

    The interplay between law — especially criminal law — and theology is more subterranean and nuanced than many give it credit for.  The same is true of civil law, as here:  Contract Law and Reservoir Dogs A contract is an exchange of promises: “I promise to do x if you promise to do y.”  Each party must undertake an obligation—called “consideration”—for the contract to be binding.  A simple unilateral promise with no consideration (“I will give you my car on Monday”) is not usually binding.  These law-rules about obligations in our daily lives provide a contrast to the covenant that the Lord makes with David and to the way that…

  • Crime Fiction,  Theology

    John D. MacDonald and King Saul

    We worked John D. MacDonald’s private eye, Travis McGee, into this discussion of King Saul and the young David:  Spare the King and Seize the Spareribs.  I most recently read The Quick Red Fox, which I was thinking about for the Saul and David post. MacDonald had fine PI prose: “We were about to give up and call it a night when somebody threw the girl off the bridge” (Darker Than Amber (1966)).