Cloister Commentary, Day 100: The 2nd “Sustenance and Succor” Awards

I had thought I might quit this enterprise on this day, but from the looks of things? NOPE.

I am proud of my brother Brian and me. We have fallen naturally into a cooperative relationship working through our father’s after-effects, much of it instinctive. The division of labor’s even, and understandings are unspoken and keyed to eye contact. But we’d forgotten, really, to deal with Dad’s truck–I had barely thought about it–and since I’ve been driving the same vehicle for almost 30 years, it made sense for me to inherit it. I took it out on the highway, zig-zagged through my old hometown (Carthage, Missouri) and past some significant sights, and this morning gassed it up, cleaned out the console and glove compartment, washed, rinsed, and waxed it. Hey, Brian and Greg Carlin: he had four tape measures in there, a set of chains, very lovingly packaged jumper cables, and something else huge behind the passenger seat I forgot to unzip. Cartel materials?

On my drive, I truly enjoyed Gary St. James on 99.7 FM “The Bull” introducing some classic country by Waylon, Merle, Reba, The Possum, Willie, The Statlers, Keith Whitley, and Dwight. Some people think I’ve heard every piece of music recorded, but would you believe I’d never ever heard “The Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line”? I’d heard OF it, but it had never slithered into my ear. Now it is a fave rave.

Among the sights I visited was the location of the old Carthage High School art annex where my art teacher Howard South taught me to think abstractly and believed in my intellectual potential, despite me being a frequent dipshit. Below, I stand in front of that location; it’s no longer an art annex.

Since my sweetie Nicole has returned to Columbia to tend to our own domicile, it’s just Jane and me hanging out right now. We kept binge-watching Truth Be Told (Octavia Spencer rules!) and had margaritas. I think I could hang with her on the regz.

It’s time for the 2nd “Sustenance and Succor Awards,” which I will give out every 50 days of the pandemic. These artifacts helped get us through

BEST ANTI-COVID-BLUES ALBUMS:

*Hamell on Trial: Pandemic Songs
*Run the Jewels 4
*79rs Gang: Expect the Unexpected

BEST ANTI-COVID-BLUES SHOWS:

*Mrs. America
*Gavin & Stacey
*What We Do in the Shadows (repeat winner!)

BEST ANTI-COVID-BLUES BOOKS:

Lisa Sandlin: The Do-Right
Octavia Butler: Kindred
Chester Himes: The Harlem Cycle, Volume 3

BEST ANTI-COVID-BLUES CURBSIDE EATS:

La Terraza (ohhhhh, those 32 oz. margaritas!!!)
India’s House
Tiger Chef

Streaming for Sustainers:

Something mordant, lively, and wry.

Cloister Commentary, Day 42: “Weather Reps”

One of our shelter rituals has been watching the local and national news at 5 and 5:30. Alas, to that we must put a stop. After 30 minutes of local “coverage’ during which we saw the same advertisement three times, had the weather POUNDED into our brains via four reps–I got it the effin’ first time, people–and consumed maybe 30 seconds of actual information during the last 10 minutes of the program, WE CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE! I assure you, enough vital news (not even counting pandemic stuff and the beginning of campaign feces-flinging) is out there to fill 60 MINUTES. I’m not naive; I know the TV exists to sell, that it’s the “shows” that support the ads, not the other way around. But still. What a waste. We can always use more time for books and music, I guess.

Ok, then. Perhaps in response to this frustration, Nicole and I jumped in the car and just drove: out to her workplace, Battle High School, past her mom Lynda’s old house, down 63 to the AC exit, up Providence to downtown (sad to see Lucky’s lights still on but no cars in the lot), through the Stephens College campus (“Look! There’s where I park! And there’s the library window I’d jump out of in an emergency!”), onto I-70 and across the Missouri River bridge, then back home, the last 20 minutes accompanied by a mellow but vivid sunset. Soundtrack: Novo Baianos’ Acabou Chorare (a late-Tropicalia masterpiece from Brazil), Thelonious Monk Trio (if you don’t know Monk’s brilliance, a great starting point), and Sonny Rollins’ Saxophone Colossus. It was a redemptive little trip, but it left us sad to think we have no clue when or where we will actually be able travel to see people and places.

A ritual we are practicing that I’ve forgotten to mention is periodically ordering something neat to give ourselves something to look forward to arriving. I think we’ve made four Powell’s Books orders, I have some Soul Jazz-labelmusic coming from the UK, and Nicole got a box of nice stuff (soap, incense, a Shiva scarf, and a cone incense diffuser) from Nag Champa. We are fortunate to have leisure capital to spend, but at least we are spending it with quality merchants and avoiding Amazon like the plague during the plague.

Still keeping your eye on the ball regarding our Republican “legislators”‘s ongoing attempt to subvert democracy and overturn Clean Missouri while we’re distracted? Creeps. Not much noise about THAT at all on the TV news. Cheating in plain sight is the new political normal.

Streaming for Shut-Ins:

Curious about that Novo Baianos record? Here.