Cloister Commentary, Day 243: Hope There Is Not a Hell

You may have noticed that, per my mild case of Anglophilia, I tend to keep a stiff upper lip. This year has tested that. I’ve lost one of my fondest friends, my dad, a terrific hound, and a rescue cat, all suddenly. Nicole lost her grandma, and was (really) forced back into in-person work in the middle of a pandemic. And we’ve had zero federal or state leadership in the midst of this young century’s biggest challenge. And I’ve seen friends and family act as if it’s all a figment of my imagination; fortunately, my mind’s too strong to even entertain a feeble gaslighting effort, but, on the other hand, I’ve mostly been silent about the outrage I daily feel.

Yesterday was one of those days I just wasn’t able to “buck up.” I’m so tired of this wholly bereft human, unaccountably in a position of power, thrashing around destructively and sowing BS, I’m so disconsolate at formerly reasonable (relatively reasonable?) humans buying into this (bad) medicine show, that I sometimes just wanna step off the planet. I came home from work, chatted with my girl, took a nap, woke up feeling better, ate some of Bangkok Gardens’ delicious food, and basked in the brillliantly executed absurdity and horror of Ratched. Also, martinis helped. But–dammit!–this is no picnic, and I see quite clearly who (individual and group) is responsible. Keep heaping shame upon yourselves, so often while mealy-mouthing your Christian badges. At least I don’t have to twist and try to justify such a position myself. Hope there is not a hell.

Streaming for Strivers after Equity:

Sublime music from a master who believed in community and compassion.

Cloister Commentary, Day 242: Way Up in the Fall

I got with the program early and did some more yardening, as we have some young friends coming over to sit by the fire and sip beverages with us at a safe distance. We are always conscious of setting a decent example for the yutes, though this particular couple does that spectacularly themselves. A reminder that pandemic time can seem fleeting (though I am under no illusions that it won’t extend far into the future) was Deven La Vere and Company making one of their final appearances of the year to further clean up our yard for the winter; it seems like it was only yesterday that he arrived for the first time in 2020. LaVere Lawn and Landscaping rocks–we’ve been with them since Deven, Justin, and Linda were our next-door neighbors and the men started the business, and we strongly recommend them.

I finished two books (I am in the midst of an additional three), so, hey–I’m up for a recommendation! Not that I’m not surrounded by stacks, but it’s nice to get a tip from a friend once in awhile. I’m not much into romance, fantasy, or pop-up books, so you might keep that in mind.

My main excitement was that yesterday was Nicole’s last official day doing in-person instruction, at least for awhile. The CPS rolling two-week average of new district COVID cases per day is around 110–good reason to be relieved your spouse can work remotely.

In case you thought my interest in the early days of disco was just a fad, down in my lab, by crackle-candlelight I constructed the equivalent of a 3-CD set of dance floor gems recommended by the adept Vince Aletti in his “Disco Files” column during May ’75 alone–and I’d previously heard not a one of them. Maybe I should put together a YouTube playlist to go with my own files?

On the way to pick up some curbside eats, I happened to be playing some sublime jazz on the truck jukebox, when Nicole popped a question she and many other folks who find themselves in my orbit tend to avoid, as spontaneous educational monologues expanding beyond 15 minutes are not everyone’s conversation cup of tea:

“Who is this we’re listening to?”

I thought it was quite sweet of her to ask, and I kept the presentation to 10 minutes. Who were we listening to? It was the classic pianist whose classic album follows…

Streaming for Survivors:

Straight out of Watts, aided and abetted ably by Cecil McBee on bass, John Carter on clarinet, and Andrew Cyrille on drums….

Cloister Commentary, Day 15: “Your Trash Ain’t Nuthin’ But Trash” (April 3, 2020)

We have been worried to death about the nation’s health care workers, small business owners, mail carriers and kids–but I’ve heard little talk about sanitation workers. They’ve had some local struggles here in the best of times, but these have to be exceptionally trying. We need to do our best to make their jobs as easy as possible, and not just sling our trash sloppily to the curb.

I’ve written before about how live music on social media is helping everyone stay sane. I watched this and I was motivated the rest of the day.

I had never been to a virtual happy hour until yesterday, when I was a fly on the wall at a gathering of Columbia Area Career Center folks. I apologize for not being more camera conscious and eating chips and dip right in everyone’s face.

My parents’ order of Chinese toilet paper arrived yesterday. It was not quite what they expected; in my mom’s words, “It doesn’t have the hole for the roll. Dad said it is 3-ply.”

Chinese Toilet Paper

Sometimes you just need to blow out the cobwebs. We chose to have a date-night DVD double-header, and watched LOST IN AMERICA and THE ARISTOCRATS. We feel a little more relaxed this morning.

Streaming for Shut-Ins: a great unsung jazz album from the Sixties, featuring alto saxophone Sonny Criss a West Coast take on East Coast “cool” by songwriter and arranger Horace Tapscott.