Cloister Commentary, Day 248: A Pretty Good Colon Man

I’ve got a pretty good colon man. The story is, he started out on horse’s asses, got better, and moved up to people.

He’s pretty funny, too. Last time I got a colonoscopy, right after I came out of the anesthesia, he said to me, “I know you love these, but you weren’t due for another two years.”

Ok, those are my jokes. One’s made up, one’s real. I passed the probing with flying colors, had a toasted peanut butter and jelly sandwich on sourdough and Fritos for my “first meal,” and a Quesadilla Loca and a stuffed chili poblano pepper for my second. Onward, but no longer outward and inward!

I had a great nap (with cat satellites and Jimi Hendrix in my headphones) in the afternoon, then later did the unthinkable (for me) and slept almost 10 hours. I used to hate having to sleep but the world and my tree rings are winning that argument.

Streaming for Survivors:

Live Surf music.

Cloister Commentary, Day 227: A Number No Longer

Had hit the hay, despite having an extra hour to expend while awake, at 8 p.m. the night before, only to be awakened for about 90 minutes by “cat scrambles” (inevitable when you have a kitten going on two and three adults), then two other times by a nervous stomach and heart palpitations. The election? I don’t think so–I had an appointment with a new old physician, the one I’d bolted from in 2015. You know the old saying: you don’t know what you got til it’s gone. Suffice it to say that the physician I bolted to treated me like Bob Seger: I felt like a number, for most of five years. On top of that, I was concerned that in her nonchalance she might have missed something re: my health. So…I was nervous to the point of sheepishness returning as the prodigal patient, and just plain existentially nervous that something malicious might be hiding. I take my mortality seriously.

I needn’t have been worried about the first point: I was received with warmth, good humor, and thorough attention. They even threw in a prostate exam–hadn’t had one of those, well, since the last time I saw them! As for the second point, turns out those heart palpitations were likely neither nerves nor palpitations. Something known as 2:1 afibs, I discovered, after my pulse registered 115 (that was before the prostate exam) and I got an EKG reading. I apparently will learn more in the coming weeks.

After learning that local Mexican restaurant La Terraza had come to the rescue of local art film emporium Ragtag in its time of power failure, we ate there and left a nice tip Saturday night–and again last night (same exact order). They are great folks, their food is great, their service is excellent–and we’d already eaten there about 10 times since the pandemic kicked it. Try it yourself!

Enjoy watching those election returns! We are escaping, as soon as Nicole’s off work.

Streaming for Strivers:

A great lost rap concept album, right here.

Cloister Commentary, Day 162: So Long, Ol’ Splash

Are you someone who actively looks for things to worry about? Then, right after you no longer have to worry about those things, you seek the next gut-roiling concern? And often they aren’t even worrisome things in the first place? Come sit by me.

So long, Splash. The Stooges and SST stickers were the first I ever applied.

I awakened wide-eyed yesterday morning at 4:30 knowing I would be driving my ’93 Ford Ranger Splash 300 miles to Paducah, Kentucky, to hand it off to my longtime fellow Razorback best buddy, Kenny Wright (the first student I met in Fayetteville after my parents dropped my freshman ass off) and his cooler-than-cool wife Gwen, and have a Popeye’s picnic lunch with them in Bob Noble Park–then COVIDly turn around and drive back home. A) Though my garage had prepped the truck carefully for the trip, and the Wrights’ son Ethan (the actual new owner) had bought it new all-weather tires, I kept picturing an axle breaking on me on I-70 and sending me plummeting into the Mississippi to my death (not really possible–that exact accident, that is), or the truck just dying on that suspension bridge. B ) What if they truck crapped out on Kenny on an interstate highway in a torrential rainstorm? These are the concerns that had raised our relatively simple trip to the level of an mythological quest.

The old jalopy ending up hauling ass smoothly to Paducah, and Sir Doug and Chuck Berry helped quell my anxiety. Kenny did get the torrential rainstorm, but not the crap-out. Ethan now must send us pictures of the gradual restoration, and my former students must find another way to identify my presence at the package store.

Nicole, of course, drove our other vehicle to Paducah, too, so I could get back home, and Dead Moon powered us on our return trip. As delicious curbside food and margaritas from La Terraza eased our highway hypnosis, who should call out of the clear blue night but our old pal Bess Frissell! We yelled at each other on speakerphone for about two hours and had a wonderful time. All the time, I silently chided myself for being a worrywart after such a fun day.

But…don’t you think these next two are going to the longest months of our lives?

Streaming for Strivers:

Not bad as tribute albums go.


Cloister Commentary, Day 25: Glitter Up The Dark, Will Ya?

After sleeping on the couch again (it has to do with our dog’s mysterious ailment, which requires an Elizabethan collar and my nearby presence at night), Nicole surprised me with two hearty slices of avocado toast that would have powered me all day. I quickly forgot about the couch.

I was supposed to have a project, but I do not think vacuuming the carpeting counts. Mostly, I spent the day finishing Sasha Geffen’s Glitter Up The Dark: How Pop Music Broke the Binary (notice how I keep referring to it? it’s an old teaching trick…), a terrific book that I may require of my students next semester if one happens.

Meanwhile, Nicole created an altar / art installation in the basement closet of “The Kitten Room.” That is something to be proud of.


We decided to eat out again, and tried one of our long-time favorite spots, La Terraza. We love several different Mexican restaurants in town; they are each subtly different, and I prefer LT’s chili rellenos, while we both prefer their margaritas. “Curbside margaritas,” you say? “Indeed,” I answer: 32 ounce “travelers”! Those and the food went great with the tensest “Better Call Saul”(spoilers in link) I’ve ever seen.

La Terraza

Streaming for Shut-Ins:

Continuing to mourn Hal Willner. Back when this was released, it helped push me off the high boards into the deep end of Monk’s pool of inimitable compositions. Willner’s guests range from Donald Fagen to John Zorn, from Dr. John and NRBQ to Shockabilly and Steve Lacy, and believe it or not, not only isn’t it uneven but it actually holds together. Dig it.