Cloister Commentary, Day 245: 59 Days

Counting up on these (will it reach 500?), counting down on a calendar on our kitchen table, given to us by our good friend, a very fine American named Mary Insley. That calendar, as I write, reads 59.

We had had a late night with some youngsters (see Day 244) and wouldn’t you know I’m not that great at staying up past midnight these days? I’m almost 60, and I get up 5ish in the a.m. So I was groggy all day, even with a plate of chilaquiles from Crazy Burrito to get me going. I slogged through commenting in tutorial mode on some student essays–a fine torture–and caught up on some new music. I haven’t updated my 2020 list, but just a tip: Kahil El’ Zabar, a master percussionist for years with Chicago’s AACM, has made my favorite album of the year, titled (without complete irony, with fine nuance) America the Beautiful. He and his killer band make that tune, as well as “Express Yourself” and “How Do You Mend a Broken Heart,” sound brand-new and freshly relevant; the originals are excellent as well. I have played it 5 times in two days, something I haven’t done with a new platter since I was a young buck.

Streaming for Strivers:

Hear it for yourself, if you please.

Cloister Commentary, Day 239: Horchata Days

Nicole put the finishing touches on our front yard cleanup with help from several neighborhood cats.

While she toiled away, I continued reading two highly enjoyable books, the original Walter Tevis novel The Queen’s Gambit and Mary Roach’s Stiff, about the different things that have happened and can happen to our bodies after we die (also, probably the funniest book I’ve read all year). Why am I telling you about these books again? Repetition is one of the most reliable of teacher tricks. I’m actually trying to get you to read? Yes.

For our lunch, the app Nextdoor led us to try the New Mexican food drive-thru Crazy Burrito on the Business Loop (where Zipp’s Burgers used to be). The place does not look too spectacular, to be honest; thus, I had not been that motivated to do research there. A Nextdoor neighbor sung its praises, and it is indeed excellent. I had a veggie torta that was splendid, and a tall horchata I later doctored with some rum. But folks: please wear masks! We didn’t see a single patron doing so, and they were definitely leaning in.

The rest of the afternoon was all Springsteen all the time (see yesterday’s entry) while Nicole whipped up some delicious Brazilian black bean soup. We were going to play chess after dinner, but in order not to be beaten I distracted Nicole with classic Bruce clips (“The River” at No Nukes, “Rosalita” from a show in Phoenix in ’78, the “Atlantic City” video).

It was a good day. It certainly beat golf.

Streaming for Strivers:

Pre-“Burn, baby, burn,” and very nice.