• 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…