Cloister Commentary, Day 133: Cool Weather

Cool weather and rain crept in, and Nicole and I enjoyed talking a walk in its midst. We talked about the power of fear and possible rituals to keep ourselves healthy once school starts.

We are spending some quality time with my brother and sister-in-law Brian and Myra, and my mom Jane. Brian is the skilled member of the Overeem Brotherhood, and he’s initiating a project a day lightly upgrading aspects of Mom’s house. I truly enjoyed admiring the results, which is also my main role in the work.

Payday followed our having listened to a podcast in which our imaginary uncle John Waters gave the show hosts a tour of his Baltimore home, which is basically one of the most unique personal libraries in the country. As usual when he’s interviewed, he talked about what he’d been reading, so my fresh infusion of leisure income led to purchases of a new Julian Barnes novel and an art book of Brigid Berlin Polaroids for which Waters wrote the intro. Rex, thanks for the tip.

Speaking of books, I’ve been reading former Mizzou professor Walter Johnson’s shattering The Broken Heart of America: St. Louis and the Violent History of the United States for a month. It’s a relatively lengthy tome, but I’ve taken my time because the book’s so powerful I can usually only read a chapter at a time. State history as it isn’t but ought to be taught in school. On one hand, St. Louis has been extremely vital to what our country has become; on the other, St. Louis has been extremely vital to what our country has become.

Our cousins Melissa and Jim Hague and their bulldog dropped by for dinner. We chatted about many things, including the news that, in memory of our dad, his friends and relatives had donated $17,000 to his local Habitat for Humanity, an organization to which he devoted much time, heart, and energy. We also ate blackberry and peach cobbler, sampled some Don Julio and a little mesquite-infused Canadian whiskey (a seemingly bad idea that tastes weirdly like Scotch), watched some NBA, and finished our random viewing of the somewhat underrated Honeysuckle Rose, which boasts Les Blank-like local color scenes, excellent performance footage, and Slim Pickens.

Streaming for Strivers:

Yes, he’s

Cloister Commentary, Day 7: “The Old Normal” (March 27, 2020)

A mere week has passed–actually we’d been cloistered for maybe three days when I started writing–yet, though I’m not a meme dude, I must steal this from one Nicole found (I’m paraphrasing):

“In the rush to return to normal, take the time to consider what aspects of the old normal are worth rushing back to.”

That’s a motto I can live with. Before I even saw the meme, I’d found myself taking inventory: I need to write more, we need to eat out less, we need to be more engaged with both our immediate and more broadly local communities, I need to not just shove things in drawers and forget them for 15 years, we need to rattle the damn cage for a better disaster safety net, we need to fight to ensure the most vulnerable among us are accepted into our arms and protected–wait, this is getting dangerous…

We struck out for the grocery store, though I just rode shotgun and read in the car. When we got home, we put some time into making sure everything was clean, and the whole ordeal was so stressful drinks were in order. If you must know, we had a “Tequila” Sunrise made with Maker’s White (a bottle of which was another of our cleaning discoveries earlier in the week). Pretty effective.

I can’t urge you enough, if you’re a music fan, to support “virtual” live concerts. Unsurprisingly, they are growing in number, and, thanks to programs like Facebook Live, you can “attend” them with friends. Speaking of safety nets, the average musician does not have much of one in the best of times, so do your part to support them in these critical ones (most have a PayPal link through which you can pay for the privilege)–and pledge to do a better job when we get out of them. I am going to do my level best.

We checked out TIGER KING on Netflix, at a couple friends’ urgings. Neither Nicole nor I are sure we need to spend our finite seconds of life staring at that. That is all. We had wanted to watch the Folger Theater production of MACBETH currently offered free on YouTube, but the resolution seemed foggy. In the end, we settled for “Key & Peele” re-runs and glimpsing our filth uncle John Waters on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”

Streaming for Shut-Ins: the terrific debut album of one of the greatest ’80s-’90s bands you may have never heard, or heard of.