Cloister Commentary, Day 321: Have Mercy!

Drove back to Columbia. I tell you what: the album Have Moicy! by The Unholy Modal Rounders, Jeffrey Fredericks & The Clamtones, and Michael Hurley is inexhaustible. Hilarious, cosmic, randy, catchy, subversive, sneaky, utterly original, it might just change your life. It changes mine at least a little every time I listen to it.

Had a reunion with Nicole and our feline falanx. I’d been gone for a several days, and I reallllly missed ’em. Unfortunately, we could only catch up for a few hours, because I…

Did an in-patient sleep study. I felt like a kind of inverted Hellraiser. Didn’t sleep that great–I’m a side-sleeper and couldn’t hack back-sleeping more than half the night; the CPap took some getting used to; my tennis elbow flared up–but the technician (known to her peers as “T”) was from Clarksdale and we chatted about hot tamales, Super Chikan and T’s late uncle Razor Blade, and the difference between here and there. She did a great job working with me and getting me over the rough spots. Now? More results to wait on!

Streaming for Strivers:

A Black history monument in jazz.

Cloister Commentary, Day 262: That’s the Way I Remember Her Best

Nicole enjoys memorizing classic poems, and last night she asked me to test her on Longfellow’s “Psalm of Life”–she nailed everything, including the quality of the reading. If you don’t know it, you should look it up: it’s one of the good ones. Anyway, she told me Bob Dylan’s “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” is next on this list–a worthy challenge–and we traded our Top 5 Dylan songs. Nicole didn’t even know about yesterday’s news: that Dylan had sold the rights to all his songs so far to Universal for $300 million. That triggered an evening of reading and browsing to the tune of those Top Fives, among them “Every Grain of Sand,” “Visions of Johanna,” “High Water,” “Only a Pawn in Their Game”–and “Girl from the North Country,” much loved by Nicole’s mom Lynda Jo, who passed away seven years ago today. I find it interesting how spontaneous choices frequently lead us to where we really need to be.

In other news, I had to do a sleep study, so Nicole helped me get outfitted so as not to screw that up. Her very pretty face smiling as she straightened my nasal and oral cannulas helped ease my anxiety about having a black box strapped to my chest, plastic tubes wrapped around me, and sensors in my nose and mouth. Thinking about that helped me actually sleep six hours, despite cat distractions.

Streaming for Strivers:

One of the great unsung Dylan tributes. Maria’s more than “Midnight at the Oasis.”