Cloister Commentary, Day 65: Chez Nicole


Breakfast – toasted avocado pita with purple cabbage and green onion.

Lunch – fresh tomatoes from Thoenen Produce (Osage County), Blue Plate mayo, and Wickles Wicked pickle chips on white bread.

Dinner – totally, arrogantly, deliciously vegan gumbo with a Happy Hollow Farms (Jamestown) butter leaf lettuce salad.

No, we ate at Chez Nicole all three meals, but thanks for asking!

I also finished the longest “short book” I’ve ever read, Brazilian novelist João Ubaldo Ribeiro‘s Sergeant Getulio. 140 pages of nearly-fine print taken almost to the page margins, in stream-of-consciousness narration with minimal paragraphing, it was a wild Rabelaisian ride that put me through my paces.

We closed the day with Netflix’s Studio 54 documentary, which revealed a very unique friendship and told its story solidly, even bravely. I didn’t hate disco back then–in fact, verily I did disco myself–and we both love it now. It’d be nice to be able to gyrate and sweat in the midst of one’s people right now.

Oh yes: Steve Earle’s Ghosts of West Virginia is in the year’s Top 10 best albums, just so you know.

Streaming for Shut-Ins:

“Different” is just fine.

Cloister Commentary, Day 9: Remaining Bacon

This was the final weekend of our “Spring Break.” Right. Break as in we are trying not to.

Yesterday, we decided to treat the day as if we were really on vacation. We had a terrific late breakfast of fried potatoes, poached eggs, grapefruit, and bacon. I am the bacon fryer, and fry it to the George Frissell Honorary Crispy Level of almost-burnt. In addition, we tried the mysterious Maker’s White in a Bloody Mary, and that didn’t work so well. We switched to our favorite vodka, Buffalo Trace’s Wheatley’s, for the next one, but we spaced them out. Our breakfast was backed by Rhino Records’ outstanding girl group comps, and that went over so well we just keep rockin’ the girl groups into the late afternoon. Good for what ails you!

After reading for several hours (yes, we would normally be reading on a spring break), we switched to the long-running BBC podcast, Desert Island Discs, and greatly enjoyed the Bruce Springsteen and Keef Richards episodes. I have struggled at many junctures with the Jersey Flash, but I have also loved him mightily at many others. What it’s come down to is the great Band line about Spike Jones: “I can’t take the way he sings / But I love to hear him talk.”

We couldn’t roll with our peeps, but we could check on them. I texted my homies Brock Boland, Choppito Blanco, Janet Marsh and Moncory Dampier to see how they were doing. I recommend it to you as a daily practice.

I had fried all nine pieces of our remaining bacon in the morning so we could properly say farewell, we hope permanently, to that magical but problematic meat with a BLT for dinner. Slathered with Blue Plate mayo, accompanied by Backer’s sour cream and onion chips and Wickles’ Wicked Garden Mix (you haven’t lived til you’ve tasted sweet-hot pickled cauliflower), these BLTs were the bomb.


We had intended to “hang out” with the Ragtag crew and virtually enjoy GHOST RIDER, then “split” to “check out” stellar Hickman grad Shea Spence’s band’s virtual concert–but, alas, it was not to be. We had arisen before the crack of dawn and went down like a cheetah hit by one of Stan’s tranquilizer darts. And we are, I think it’s called, OLD.

Streaming for Shut-Ins: a mesmerizing modern girl group album.