The Critical Mass

Hello from Mom, and a room full of vampire writers

For the last few Sundays, readers of The Critical Mass have been complaining that they’ve had to read The New York Times themselves, because I haven’t had the time to do it for them. So, faced with your anger, that public service returns this weekend. And I apologize for the recent blog break. Perhaps I owe an explanation as to what I’ve been up to.

  1. I visited my mom in Ohio. She says hello.
  2. I thought a lot about Tim Tebow. Like, considering all of those Christians who defended the right of the Denver Broncos’ Jesus-fueled quarterback to give thanks to God every time a touchdown was scored, would those same Christians defend Tebow if he were a Muslim and pulled out a prayer rug and bowed down to Allah in the end zone?
  3. I re-organized my CD collection, adding a new genre: Creepy Jazz.
  4. While I was cleaning house one evening, the Republican un-presidential campaign debate from Florida was on TV. You could hear Newt Gingrich over the vacuum cleaner. At one point, when asked why the sacred “Job Creators” hadn’t created any jobs under the Bush Disaster, Gingrich claimed it would have been a lot worse if those protect-the-corporations policies hadn’t been in place. And, “I think every economist would agree with that,” Gingrich said, before fleeing the scene of that lie by changing the subject. My follow-up question would have been, “Mr. Gingrich, setting aside any conservative think-tank blowhards, can you give me the name of any reliable economist who I can call and who will tell me he actually believes that?” Once again, the media fails us.
  5. The Smokin’ Dopes barbecue team held a meeting at the quaint L&M Lanes. Four hours of bowling and beer, 10 minutes discussing secret strategies for winning the ribs and white hots competitions. But… is it normal for a grown man to roll a 43 game?
  6. I have a lot of great friends who throw really good parties. That’s where I’ve been.
  7. I’ve been reading Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.
  8. I’ve been wondering what has happened to the First Amendment. According to Reporters Without Borders, the United States has dropped to 47th in the world for freedom of the press, falling 27 places after “the many arrests of journalists covering Occupy Wall Street protests.”
  9. After all these years, I finally watched Taxi Driver. What a smart, weird movie.
  10. I went to the bank a couple of times. I hear Mitt Romney had a Swiss bank account. And one in the Cayman Islands.
  11. I was at a writing conference in New York City. Hundreds of writers, 78 percent of whom were seeking agents to help sell their manuscripts of the paranormal: Vampires, zombies, werewolves, ghosts, Newts. One writer I was chatting with was wearing a pentagram. I’m thinking, Am I at the wrong conference? All I’m trying to do  is sell a book about a 93-year-old sailor.
  12. So yeah, I’ve spent the last month with Chasing the Wind, readying it for self-publication. You’ll be hearing more about the marvelous, true story of Ernie Coleman in a couple of weeks.
  13. I went out and bought a copy of Where the Wild Things Are, because author Maurice Sendak said, “Newt Gingrich is an idiot… there is something so hopelessly gross and vile about him… so let’s not take him seriously.”
  14. Why, after Barack Obama’s magnificent State of the Union address on Tuesday, did every TV commentator insist on examining it through the lens of “election-year politics,” as though strategies addressing  unemployment, the economy, war and education have no other purpose?
  15. I’d love to see every Republican who disagrees with Obama take a transcript of the State of the Union address and underline 10 sentences that they disagree with.
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