Cloister Commentary, Day 220: First Snow in BoCoMo

First snow. Mixed feelings. For some reason, I’m predisposed to love cold weather, so my heart leapt–briefly. The onset of winter, on the other hand, strikes me as foreboding; lately, I’ve come to trust nothing, neither man nor nature, plus memories of personal loss have come creeping over my emotional transom. To top it off or bottom it out, my office was like an icebox.

One nice thing is I finally got scheduled in for my first doctor visit of Terrible ’20. Frankly, I’m too old to blow it off. I’m returning to my old clinic after basically being blankly processed through and checked off the last few times I’ve gotten a check-up at my current clinic. Yes: I’m excited I’m going to the doctor.

I’m here to tell you that, after three episodes, Showtime’s adaptation of James McBride’s wild U. S. epic The Good Lord Bird is so far smashing: faithful to the spirit and details of the novel, studded by great performances (Daveed Diggs as Frederick Douglass–maybe a touch OTT), and juiced by great gospel soundtrack choices (plus the obligatory Nina Simone keynote classic). If you can’t get Showtime…read the book.

Streaming for Strivers:

Damn right he’s had the blues.

Cloister Commentary, Day 210: The Shingle-Shot Shuffle

I wallowed around most of the day in a post-shingles-shot quasi-fluish state, and it came home to me vividly how the lurking presence of COVID makes every ache suspicious these days. I read, napped, shuffled around, ate a tomato sandwich, slurped a big bowl of ramen, applied two hours of Jane Austen filmage (the 2020 version of Emma, thumbs up), and finally started to feel normal–in time to hit the sack. Even a vehicle idling for a half-hour across the street with its bass CRANKED did not delay my appointment with Hypnos.

If any of my readers happened to have read Yaa Gyasi‘s scintillating debut novel Homegoing, I’d like to strongly recommend her second, Transcendent Kingdom. It’s very different in many ways, following the narrator’s generational, spiritual, familial, and intellectual struggles during two parallel periods in her life. Gyasi has a real gift for handling story, and her look at the clashes and embraces between culture, religion, and science are of the moment.

Also, Nicole and I dipped into a Showtime free trial just to watch the channel’s limited-series adaptation of one of our favorite recent novels, James McBride’s The Good Lord Bird, a kind of flipped Huck Finn. Though the trailer and reviews seemed very promising, we were praying they didn’t eff it up. Unfortunately, the free trial didn’t give us access to the series, so it’s back to the drawring board.

Lil’ Scrappers, 2018-2020 (we’re pretty sure): A Humble Tribute.

Streaming for Strivers:

For the unfolding of your Saturday morning.