A world filled with anger and despair, of war and conflict, of threats and broken promises, a world where danger lurks around every corner and every stranger is a threat to the American way of life. And when I consider the current state of global affairs I get down on me knees and praise the heavens for my own personal good fortune.

That’s right. I thank god for the new tours.

That’s what keeps me going in this crazy millennium. The Israel / Palestine conflict? No problemo, I just kick back and read the new routing for Ja Rule and the clash over the West Bank fades into the back of my mind like so many cancelled Guns N’ Roses dates. War with Iraq? After browsing the new dates for Nada Surf and Leftover Salmon, Saddam quickly becomes yesterday’s news – boring and irrelevant, like Michael Jackson dangling his offspring over German hotel balconies.

That’s why I surround myself with concert dates, like the additional shows for Aaron Neville or the new routings for James McMurtry and Interpol. Sure, the papers scream about unemployment, recession, depression, oppression, but one look at the itinerary for The Reunion Show and the world’s a better place, all rosy and fragrant, with nary a problem to worry little old me. Tax cuts that only benefit the rich? Don’t bother me, none. Not when there’s new tours for Ted Leo Pharmacists and Mull Historical Society. Nukes in North Korea? Let Hawkeye and Trapper John sort that one out, I’ve got a list of dates for Neil Sedaka. Life is good.

That’s why I’ve decided that 2003 will be the year of the new tours. Whenever I’m faced with anxiety and dread I’ll just log into Pollstar.com and bask in the worry-free world of Tortoise, The Datsuns and The BellRays. I’ll spend this month looking over the schedule for Trans Am. Come spring, I’ll be making my plans to see Little Charlie & The Nightcats. I’ll rock out at the major amphitheatres during the summer, and spend the fall accumulating dates for Michael Feinstein or even The Smothers Brothers. And winter? Who knows what winter will bring? Aside from the kiss of fresh snow and children sledding down hillsides, their rosy cheeks glowing with the carefree joy of youth. However, I’m thinking, “radio Xmas shows.”

Yes, it’s going to be a great year. A year filled with dates for Peter Frampton, Tom Jones and Tony Danza. So, forget about war, pestilence and a blasé economy. The new tours are here today, and that’s all that matters in 2003.

Of course, next year might be a different story. You know, with my running for reelection and all.