Cloister Commentary, Day 190: I’m Into Literature

Nicole and I went to the grocery yesterday morning. Our pandemic routine is usually that she goes in while I sit in the car and write these, but my taste-aholic ways led me to tag along and sniff around for some new brews. I happened to be wearing an Arkansas Razorbacks shirt; I didn’t graduate from that institution, but its impact on me was stronger than any of the others I attended. Wheeling into the liquor aisle, I came upon a woman older than me who stopped me, looked me in the eye, pointed south and said, “Arkansas is that way!” I chuckled, not sure of her exact attitude, and she continued by rather confidently saying, as she then pointed to my shirt, “Big football fan, are you?”

“No. Literature.” And I proceeded to the beer cooler. That Cigar City Brewery‘s doing some interesting things.

Later, we received a visit from the young Mizzou scholar London Rayhill Santacruz, who dropped by to change the oil in his jalopy. We treated him to some pad Thai from Tiger Chef, shot the bull for a bit, and let him get to work. Mercifully, he did not need my assistance, because, as I just noted, I’m into literature. However, after he finished we exchanged hip hop enthusiasms: he’s an Earthgang man (I told you he was a scholar), I tried to sell him on Little Simz and Boldy James. After he left, Nicole and I noted that we must have a knack for choosing friends, because they all raise stellar youths.

We then poured a couple at the kitchen table, cracked pistachios, and listened to and discussed The Beatles’ White Album.

It was a great day.

Streaming for Strivers:

This is a full EP.

Cloister Commentary, Day 177: Draggy Magic

More from Albert Camus’ The Plague (1948 Stuart Gilbert translation):

“The evil that is in the world always comes from ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence, if they lack understanding. On the whole, men are more good than bad; that, however, is not the real point. But they are more or less ignorant, and it is this that we call vice or virtue; the most incorrigible vice being that of an ignorance that fancies it knows everything and therefore claims for itself the right to kill. The soul of the murderer is blind; and there can be no true goodness nor true love without the utmost clear-sightedness.”

Other exciting news?

*We halfsie-splitsied some bagels from the downtown B&B Bagel Bakery (asiago cheese v. everything, with scallion cream cheese).
*We Zoomed with family and friends.
*We happily revisited Ron Howard’s Beatle documentary Eight Days a Week (did Nicole and I originally see at Ragtag, or did George and I see it there, or did we all see it there?), and enjoyed it even more than we did the first time. What a time, what a band; I’m thinking Nicole may need to read Rob Sheffield’s Dreaming the Beatles.

Streaming for Survivors:
The draggy magic of this album fits my Monday morning.

Cloister Commentary, Day 175: Beatles and Books

Two very memorable occurrences.

At the beginning and the end of a Friday at the end of her first week of virtual teaching for the 2020-2021 school year, Nicole had a to give herself a dose of John Lennon and The Beatles. This led to a full-on, high-volume barrage of Fab Four until late in the evening, and we’ll be watching Beatles movies today. I asked her if anything special triggered her choice, and she simply said, “They make me feel good!” There are deniers of things wonderful as well as horrible; I’ve always enjoyed watching Beatle contrarians labor to try to explain why they weren’t any good. Their joy is difficult to gainsay, in particular. Beer and Moscow Mules were also involved.

The second thing was a Facebook post by my friend Duncan Parks. I taught Duncan, always sharp and witty, when he was knee-high to a grasshopper in middle school, then later when he was a high school student. Mr. Parks was apparently doing some cleaning yesterday when he found an old red English textbook that he received from me when he was a Smithton Wildcat. He posted a picture of it, which instantly reminded me that I’d rescued the whole batch from the incinerator that year, 1) because the selections were excellent; 2) because I’ve always liked textbooks as a resource (as opposed to the focus of a class); and 3) because I hate waste. Also, it gave me pause to again reflect on the fate of physical media, a mental exercise that’s becoming an obsession.

Streaming for Survivors:

Let’s wave goodbye to the great reggae singer Toots Hibbert, who just stepped on a rainbow.