Cloister Commentary, Day 203: Fall-Away Day

Nicole and I dropped our absentee ballots off at the Boone County clerk’s office this morning. I wonder how many other counties offer on-line ballot-tracking to voters. That’s a good thing.

I had no school imperatives to deal with, so unsurprisingly I read. I had planned to knock a chunk out of three of the books I’m currently enjoying, but New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman’s The Triumph of Christianity: How a Forbidden Religion Swept the World, like the other Ehrman books I’ve read have done, held me transfixed. I am not a believer; Ehrman once was, but he is a mere historian now–a dogged, erudite, witty, and indefatigably curious one. Since it’s coming on list season, I also explored music writer Tom Hull’s “1000 Albums for a Long and Happy Life.” You’d think at the rate I’ve listened to albums since ’77 or so I’d have encountered few surprises, but I’ve only made it through the “I”s and Mr. Hull’s given me quite a stack to lean into. In this case, I’m thankful for streaming.

After she finished with school around five, Nicole joined me for one of our frequent Friday Fall-Aways at the kitchen table, when we just relax, fiddle around, occasionally sip something (this time, some good mescal), and listen to something indisputably euphonious (this time, Herb Ellis’ Nothing But the Blues, which I fished out of Mr. Hull’s list).

The evening ended with beers and conversation on our friend Shireen’s back deck, where we also got to catch up with our mutual friend Annell Boland. Her amazingly man-like young son Fred sweetly arrived to pick her up at the end of our visit; I have so many friends with sharp young college age spawn that I’m starting to think I’m old.

Streaming for Strivers:

I also had an amusing and refreshing social media conversation with my old friend and fellow southwest Missouri refugee John Schooley, which indirectly reminded me to play this. You should, too, if you need a jolt.

Cloister Commentary, Day 87: Migas!

Any day I can see and talk to my dad, mom, brother, honorary sister, and my stalwart Springfieldian friends is a good day. I am thrilled to report my dad is exploring the work of Bart Ehrman! Also, my friend Heather’s family love and care, activism and neighborhood leadership is very inspiring. Zoom, I dislike you, and I will resolve that, but you made our visits possible.

Nicole and I walked Louis about three miles around the Stephens Lake Park loops. The ol’ pooch is getting a little creaky, as his recovery time’s getting slower. He is still on-point with random barking outbursts, thanks to the fox who’s pooping in his backyard.

I had been begging Nicole for migas all week and, thanks to our neighbor Shireen’s gift of fresh tortillas from Tortilleria El Patron, who make the best in town, I was quieted. They featured a spicy black bean and salsa topping with avocados and radish slices.

We closed the evening by reading and listening to three disks of Art Tatum. I was mostly occupied with Gary Younge’s Another Day in the Death of America, which chronicles the lives of 10 American kids who died by gun on November 23, 2013. That wasn’t far from a normal day.

Streaming for Strivers:

Punk + a poet. Pissed. Pennsylvanian. “In the midnight hour / [She] erases these cowards.”