The Critical Mass

How I spend my idle time

As an unemployed American, I am frequently asked by my concerned fellow citizens, “So, what are you doing these days?” In response, I’ve been compiling a “To Do” list, just to keep the conversation going. I haven’t crossed off a whole lot yet. But I think some of this stuff will happen in the next two months.

1, Finish reading All the Light We Cannot See.

2, Compile list of “Shithole politicians.”

3, Continue writing the new novel. Decide who lives, who dies.

4, Start reading Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian. Everyone dies.

5, Walk the dog.

6, As you read, you’ll notice “Watch the Super Bowl” isn’t on this list.

7, Buy my tickets for the Jan. 26 Durham County Poets show at The Little Theatre, so people stop criticizing me for missing this authentically dusty, blues and folk-rock outfit at last summer’s jazz fest. And Shemekia Copeland is there Feb. 24 and Joe Crookston March 16. Cool shows at a great venue.

8, On the Waterfront is showing at The Dryden on Feb. 6. Isn’t it about time I see this classic Brando film? And on the big screen…?

9, Oh, no! Spring Chickens – that’s Scott Regan, Connie Deming and Steve Piper – are also Feb. 6 at The Little Theater. Love their covers of those early ’60s Brill Building hits.

10, Finish reading Blood Meridian.

11, Haven’t seen much avant-garde jazz recently. Kahil El’Zabar’s Ethnic Heritage Ensemble Feb. 25 at Lovin’ Cup Bistro and Brews should take care of that.

12, Alphabetize the albums and CDs.

13, Watch more of those British TV shows about a quirky detective assigned to a picturesque small seaside town that seems to be plagued by an unusual number of mysterious murders.

14, Start reading Joanna Scott’s The Manikin.

15, Gotta remember, Feb. 14 is some kinda holiday… Oh yeah, first day of spring training.

16, Walk the dog. Do the laundry.

17, Need to pick a song to perform at the Feb. 22 Cash Bash at Abilene Bar and Lounge.

18, And while I’m there, buy tickets to Abilene’s 10th-anniversary party on April 13 at Harro East Ballroom with JD McPherson.

19, I’m needing a Jonathan Richman fix. And there he is, March 10 at Skylark Lounge. And the next night he’s playing at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. Road trip?

20, I have to figure this out: Is it, “Actions speak louder than words” or, “The pen is mightier than the sword?”

21, Issues to debate: My Friend Dick told me the current edition of Rolling Stone magazine has a story on driverless trucks. This worries me. There are an estimated 3.5 million truck drivers in the United States. What happens to their jobs? What will be the effect on roadside diners across the nation? Who will buy those country music CDs I see in racks at gas stations?

22, Walk the dog. Do the laundry. Make some sausage.

23, I have to decide who’s right: Virtually every scientist in the world who agree that climate change is real and is caused by man, or Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, who doesn’t believe carbon dioxide warms the planet.

24, Finish reading The Manikin.

25, Indians season opener March 29 at Seattle. Time to open that bottle of Cleveland Indians red blend that My Friend John gave me.

26, Consider strategies to get The Critical Mass nominated for the 2019 Trump “Fake News Awards.”

27, Buy a new lawnmower.

28, Start reading Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy. Mathematical formulas that can predict the future of humanity? That should take me into October.

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