• Cocktails,  Crime Fiction,  Poetry,  Style and Grammar

    Okay, So It’s A Lurid Book Cover: Summer Weekend Cocktails, Dylan Thomas on YouTube, Good Writing and Great Music

    Our notes for Friday, beginning with cocktails; moving through literature; ending with music. Brown Whisky Is Not Just For Winter.  From the New York Times, some summer drinks using brown booze. And Old-Fashioneds Aren’t Always Dark.  From Gastronomista, a tequila old-fashioned that actually sounds good. Go Scandinavian.  As long as we’re discussing traditional cocktails with non-traditional spirits, I might try an aquavit Manhattan (if I can find some aquavit) (from Saveur.com). Movie Booze.  For movie buffs, from Liquor.com, a list of The 6 Most Influential Drink Orders of All Time. There’s Always Time For Good Writing.  Some superior prose passages from “After Deadline.” Welsh Poetry Is Good For You.  From the…

  • Cocktails

    Memorial Day Weekend Cocktails, Plus A Navy Seal’s Commencement Speech

    Best wishes for a happy Memorial Day weekend from White Collar Wire. From the New York Times, this set of interactive videos about summer cocktails is a great start to the weekend. The Thin Man movies starring Nick and Nora Charles (William Powell and Myrna Loy) combine two elements of our mission (cocktails and crime fiction).  This montage from several “Thin Man” films has some of their best martini-hits.   We support gin here at White Collar Wire.  See this article about the renewal of gin in London.  And, on the subject of gin, from Liquor.com is this video on the Corpse Reviver Number 2. Tiki drinks are a hot-weather favorite.  From Saveur.com,…

  • Crime Fiction

    The Rap Sheet, True Crime and White Collar Wire

    We are honored to be added as a “True Crime” blog by The Rap Sheet, one of the world’s leading crime-fiction blogs: Since it spun off from January Magazine to become a separate blog in May 2006, The Rap Sheet has earned its reputation as an essential resource for readers seeking information about what’s new and interesting in the world of crime fiction. It covers crime, mystery, and thriller fiction both recent and vintage, appearing in all media–print as well as broadcast. Edited and written mostly by J. Kingston Pierce, the site has been nominated twice for Anthony Awards, and in 2009 it won the Spinetingler Award for Special Services to…

  • 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)).  

  • Crime Fiction,  Theology

    George V. Higgins and the Archeology of White-Collar Crime

    In popular culture, business-crime is presented cartoon-fashion. In movies, on television or in novels, businesspeople who are corporate targets of government investigations come across as Snidely Whiplashes with French cuffs.  This practice is predictable, its results boring.  Not so with the work of the late Boston-based novelist and one-time Assistant United States Attorney George V. Higgins (1939 – 1999).   From the George V. Higgins Collection at the University of South Carolina: George V. Higgins (1939-1999) succeeded in nine distinct careers, all of which are documented in his archive.  Armed with two English degrees and a law degree, Higgins became a journalist for the Associated Press, The Boston Globe and The Wall Street Journal,…

  • Crime Fiction,  Sentencing

    Why’d He Do It?

    Here’s a note from Professor Ellen Podgor about an article on Sentencing the Why of White Collar Crime by Todd Haugh (Illinois Institute of Technology – Chicago-Kent College of Law)  in the Fordham Law Review.  From the abstract: “So why did Mr. Gupta do it?” That question was at the heart of Judge Jed Rakoff’s recent sentencing of Rajat Gupta, a former Wall Street titan and the most high-profile insider trading defendant of the past 30 years. The answer, which the court actively sought by inquiring into Gupta’s psychological motivations, resulted in a two-year sentence, eight years less than the government requested. What was it that Judge Rakoff found in…

  • Crime Fiction

    Browning: “the poet, not the automatic”

    Does reading literary fiction really increase your social intelligence?  Here: I Know How You’re Feeling, I Read Chekhov Maybe.  But what about crime fiction?         A little Raymond Chandler increases the social intelligence you really need.  The best crime fiction illumines sin, salvation and manners as well as Chekhov. See this 1977 essay on Chandler by Clive James:  The Country Behind The Hill ‘In the long run’, Raymond Chandler writes in Raymond Chandler Speaking, ‘however little you talk or even think about it, the most durable thing in writing is style, and style is the most valuable investment a writer can make with his time.’ At a…

  • Crime Fiction

    Crime and T.S. Eliot

    Today (September 26th) is the birthday of American-born (but eventually British-subject) poet T.S. Eliot (1888-1965).  He wrote little about crime except Murder in the Cathedral (1935): Now is my way clear, now is the meaning plain: Temptation shall not come in this kind again. The last temptation is the greatest treason: To do the right deed for the wrong reason. -Thomas, Part I And here’s one about a criminal cat, Macavity: Macavity’s a Mystery Cat: he’s called the Hidden Paw— For he’s the master criminal who can defy the Law. He’s the bafflement of Scotland Yard, the Flying Squad’s despair: For when they reach the scene of crime—Macavity’s not there!…