Cloister Commentary, Day 275: Bourbon Straight Bourbon

Realized yesterday I was only 91 (now 90) days away from a full year’s worth of pandemic commentary, though much of my commentary isn’t strictly about the pandemic. I had intended to continue commenting about living more fully in isolation (a more accurate description) until the pandemic is over, but I think now I’ll shoot for a year. I welcome the thoughts of anyone who’s been reading these.

CBS Sunday Morning has been a staple of our sanctum’s striving, though I have always distrusted its sunniness. However, yesterday’s pieces on Etsy, health care for the homeless, a male seam(ster?), and Paul McCartney got us off to a great start. I’m trying unsuccessfully to move Nicole from Spotify to Apple Music so she can enjoy McCartney’s new album in, um, more integrated fashion.

I hope everyone has friend like Beth Hartman. The three of us have had some great times together, and no one gives better gifts! We eagerly await her “Christmas box” this time every year; among this year’s cool stuff was some killer habañero beef jerky, as well as some pure-ass maple syrup that Nicole is going to make Old Fashioneds with tonight. Beth has also been essential to the lives of many seniors in the Seattle area–her stories about working with them bring us joy and hope.

We went for a three-mile neighborhood walk–the day was sunny and gorgeous for late December–then Nicole did some gift prep while I watched my preference for a Super Bowl, Saints v. Chiefs. I just wanted a close game, and that it was, but it wasn’t exciting until Kansas City let New Orleans back in the game, as fans knew they would. I finally finished my first and last bottle of Bob Dylan’s “Tennessee Bourbon Straight Bourbon Whiskey,” Heaven’s Door. It tastes ok, but out of irreverence I mixed it with a Mexican Coke.

Streaming for Strivers:

That word Live should not be in quotes…

Cloister Commentary, Day 31: The Good, The Bad, and The Good

The good?

Laughing our butts off at Randy Newman and his wife on CBS Sunday Morning (sheltering in place is bringing them spatial and motivational challenges).

Mixing a couple of tequila sunrises, cranking up the 2-CD Dead Moon compilation ECHOES OF THE PAST, and realizing we were fortunate enough to see the Coles play seven times, and get to know them. They have always been an inspiration to us.

A Zoom session with my parents Ron and Jane and my brother Brian and his gal Myra. We got caught up and enjoyed some great views of Dad’s belly (low-angle camera work). My mom is busy making masks for friends and my dad is out in the shop a lot. (See pic in comments.)

Mom and Dad

Nicole’s lasagna, made with fresh spinach from the Columbia Farmer’s Market–their operation is a model for these times. And doesn’t lasagna taste even better the second day?

Relaxing with a book, some music, and the windows open, and enjoying a beer on the front landing with our cat Tuxalini.


The not-so-good?

Neighbors. A neighbor of ours already had three dogs they insufficiently controlled, and they recently added a NEW dog and a cat that had not been spayed and now appears pregnant. Yesterday, they gathered in their driveway with (at least) four friends for almost two hours, definitely not practicing social distancing, sharing smokes–and allowing the new dog to run freely in the street (stopping traffic twice) and over into our yard multiple times, though IT HAD A LEASH ON THAT WAS APPARENTLY DECORATIVE. Upon the dog’s last foray, Nicole stepped out and asked them politely to keep their dog in their yard. Response: “I’ll do whatever I want.” Animal Control does not operate on Sunday; a heads-up to the authorities went unaddressed. That unnerved us for the rest of the evening. It is really difficult, sometimes, to sit with things you can’t control. We will get better at it, but Animal Control is now on speed dial.

The good–on the rebound?

Tyler Keith of Oxford, Mississippi, is one of the States’ last dyed-in-the-wool rock and rollers. In the Nineties, he led The Neckbones, which were what the first version of The Heartbreakers (with Johnny Thunders and Richard Hell in tow) would have sounded like if they had been from The Deep South. But Tyler, solo and with his various bands (The Preacher’s Kids, The Apostles), has continued to make barbed-wire, hard-hitting music that’s continued the Southern tradition, most vividly exemplified by Jerry Lee Lewis, of watching the sunrise with God and closing down the bar with Satan. He performed a Facebook live concert last night to celebrate the release of his new album (see below), and that rescued the day for us, in a way. By the way, the album is great.

Streaming for Shut-Ins:

This album has always done us good. Perhaps it will do the same for you!