Cloister Commentary, Day 179: All Too Evitable

Only my hatred of the inevitable, and delight at seeing the inevitable rendered unexpectedly evitable, could induce me to root for a Kroenke-owned venture, but such is life in the NBA bubble: I would happily witness a Denver Nuggets ride to the championship; there, I said it. But, truth be told, I’d be happy with any of the remaining four teams winning: the Heat, because I love their youth, team chemistry, defense, and spirit–damn, they would be a great Finals match with the Nuggets!–the Celtics, because I really wanted them, configured much like they were then, to beat the Cavs two years ago when they went Clipper-cold in a seventh game (I also like their youth, team chemistry, defense, and spirit), or even the Lakers, because as a colleague and I recently agreed, LeBron-Hate is a symptom of a very American reality-denial virus, and his winning a championship with a third different franchise as the key player (I love Big Shot Bob, but let’s be serious) is something, um, a certain cigar-smoking, golf-playing, bet-addicted, former-Hitler-mustache wearing person never did.

Reader, sorry I’m wearing you out about something as relatively insignificant as basketball in this entry, but IT GIVES ME JOY, we all need a source of that right now, and you’ll just have to endure it. As a long-time fan, I am luxuriating in the following: the level of play, the nail-biting aspect of so many of the playoff games, the various stories in the making–and the fact that, if fans who are not in support of social justice and don’t like people of color as anything other than athletes are going to watch NBA Bubble Playoffs, they are going to have to look at and listen to healthy messages all game long.

Streaming for Strivers:

I should be more humble in my joy-bounty, but I (and you) also have music.

Cloister Commentary, Day 159: How Many More, How Much More?

Finally, I weeded and trimmed around the front yard and sides of the house and hauled the detritus to the mulch site. I’m almost to sore to write this morning. Where is this sudden burst of diligence coming from? It scares me. I was accompanied by the neighbor’s passel of unfed cats, who were clearly entertaining me in hopes of morsels.

Nicole and I checked a few items off the get-‘er-done-‘fore-school-starts list: we set up a safety deposit box and corresponded again with two prisoners on death row in Missouri in league with the Missourians Against the Death Penalty program. It’s a trademark of the pandemic that two actions taking us a little less than an hour total felt like major accomplishments.

The NBA’s choice to suspend the playoffs was more inspiring than watching a great overtime game. It’s on the back of Dame’s and Donovan’s jerseys: how many more? And how much more?

We finished the first season of Unforgotten, which ended a tad soft with an overload of redemption. But I also found myself asking, from a critical perspective, what’s so wrong with that? Is it that much of a pipedream? Well, probably.

My English friend David requested Top 10 lists from some of his fellow music mavens, and rather than rearrange the same basic list I’ve probably posted for a decade, I decided to go off-canon. For your perusal:

  1. Carmen McRae: As Time Goes By – Live at the Dug
  2. Dead Moon: Trash & Burn
  3. Armando Garzon: Boleros
  4. Doris Duke: I’m a Loser (Kent UK Reissue)
  5. Jorge Ben: Africa Brasil
  6. Various Artists: It Came from Memphis, Volumes 1 & 2
  7. CH3: Fear of Life
  8. Sonny Criss: Sonny’s Dream (Birth of the New Cool)
  9. Johnny Bush: 14 Greatest Hits
  10. Lynn August: Sauce Piquante

Streaming for Strivers:

A taste? I have probably listened to this somewhat forgotten album 10-15 times in the last year.

Cloister Commentary, Day 84: The Return of Ponty Apers

Nicole and I participated in two outings, one a sort of outdoor committee meeting at the Hickman labyrinth to finalize some important details, the other a catch-up, hangout, beer-slurp, wine-sip with a dear friend in West Columbia. Lawn chairs and tree-shade came in mighty handy.

We got home and my body twisted my arm (a tangled metaphor, that) and hissed in my ear through gritted teeth, “You will take a nap!” I did.

Just when I get really comfortable with Zoom, the company shuts down a celebration of the Tiananmen Square protest. Remember, the one with the man standing down the tank? We cheered that one as a nation, I think. It was so long ago. I may have to pursue an alternative teaching method.

I am closing in on finishing two series: Chester Himes’ nine-book “Coffin Ed and Gravedigger Jones” Harlem Cycle, and Gilbert Hernandez‘s Love and Rockets/Palomar Stories graphic novels. No regrets about either undertaking: those worlds are fascinating and enriching.

We played Scrabble, sipped mint juleps, cranked up the music of the great Louis Jordan, and just chilled. I cinched a win by adding an “s” to “bowel.” Bastard.

Bess, Susie, Melody, Lee, and Kendra will probably get this, but just before bed, looking out into the backyard, we spied Ponty Apers 🦊. Why yesterday? Indeed.

Streaming for Strivers:

I was once accused by a former friend when I was (politely) unimpressed by his demo tape that I “don’t even listen to rock and roll anymore.” I did, I do, I always will. Also, Black Lives Matter in garage punk!