Friday, April 23, 2010

Delusions of Grandeur


Please bear with me for a moment while I search my office for the beginning of this post.

starts throwing papers, books, pens, pencils, chairs, phones, laptop, tantrum, shoes, glasses, fastballs, curves, screws, copper, sticks, stones, sneezes, and weight

Found it.

blows the dust bunnies, along with the little dust bunnies and baby dust bunnies off

About several months ago, I wrote a post that contained, among other things, my low opinion of today's literary journals. What I received a couple of weeks ago in the mail, solidified that low opinion of literary journals.

One gloriously sunny Saturday afternoon, my wife came into the den, handed me a package, and said, "Here, this is the only thing that came for you." I took it and saw that it was one of my contest subscriptions, in this particular case, for Boulevard literary journal.

Note: one of the minimal 'prizes' you do get from entering most writing contests is a one year subscription to that particular literary journal, courtesy of your entry fee

So, imagine my surprise when I opened it and found a c.d. of music with it. Not just any c.d. mind you, no sir, but a c.d. filled with songs written by the founder/editor/Stephen King clone of serious literature Richard Burgin and performed by Chris Cefalu.

Now, I don't know about you, but I find it somewhat disturbing that a person who founded a literary journal some twenty-five years ago, who has it published out of a respectable university, should use it as his own personal vehicle of choice in foisting whatever whimsy on the general public. It's bad enough to use some of the space to trumpet whatever new book you have coming out, but to start including a c.d. of music that you composed and had someone else perform, I think, reaches a new low (or is it a new high) of pomposity.

I'm not even sure where else I can go with this particular point without sounding like a nut, so let's take a detour and move on to the c.d. review of The Trouble With Love.

How I came about "listening" to this c.d. was pretty simple: it was pay week, and I need something to occupy my brain while I was doing all the things associated with pay week (click here to see examples of what I listen to during pay week). So I brought the c.d. in with me and when the time came, I went through my usual routine of whenever I crack open a new c.d. at work to listen to.

I started reading the liner notes, and found that Richard collaborated with a singer/songwriter by the name of Chris Cefalu. Having no idea on who this particular person is, beyond that he released several c.d.'s plus works of fiction and poetry, I moved on with my reading. What should have stopped me and put the c.d. back, was this comment by Chris in his part of the liner notes: He references certain genres of music without ever submitting to them entirely.

I'm sorry. I don't care what type of musician/songwriter you are, but if you're gonna explore different types of genres, do it one song at a time. Don't go exploring three or four different types within one song and expected to make it stick. I know this sounds a little hypocritical considering to what I listen to (primarily rock with others thrown in), but even within those genres, the artist stays within that genre while exploring the outer reaches of that genre (like jazz for example).

In spite of the fact that the liner notes were setting off all kinds of alarms, I popped this bad boy in and began listening to it. Or at least, tried listening to it.

I'm a bit picky when it comes to listening to brand new/used c.d.'s for the first time. If it doesn't hold my interest all the way through a maximum of two plays, I will take it out of my collection and put it away in my sock drawer, where it never sees the light of day (I've done this to six c.d.'s so far, out of 130). This c.d. did not hold my interest all the way through, and in fact, I found myself actually tuning the damn thing out within the first twenty minutes of processing paychecks.

This my good friend, is a very bad sign. I don't believe that I've ever tuned out a new c.d. while listening to it for the first time. I have stopped listening to c.d.'s a few tracks in, but this was a first. I actually had to look at the track screen to figure out where I was in the c.d.

After spending about twenty minutes "listening" to this thing, I gave up at track #5, took out the c.d., brought it home and now, after creating this post, will stick it in my sock drawer.

In summation, my review/opinion of this c.d., the performer and writer is this:

1} The performer I really wasn't able to form an opinion of, because I don't believe that this c.d. showcases his talents very well. Please check out his website for more details on his c.d.'s and his writings. For those of you who are into hardcore blues (Chicago style, delta, etc.), he has an interesting music blog about his music collection as well.

2} The writer I've already formed an opinion of, and I'm pretty sure that by reading this post, you can probably figure out what that is without too much difficulty.

3} My opinion of this c.d. is only partially formed, which was partially due to the fact that I gave up about one third of the way through (five tracks out of fourteen), and partially due to the fact that I have no idea what the basic concept/idea of this c.d. is. However, if you're interested in exploring this particular c.d., it can be found at CD Baby

Oh, and the basic disclaimer is this: this c.d. was given to me as part of my one year subscription to Boulevard magazine (which will probably find a home in the circular file, unless someone wants it), and not as a freebie to write a review on.


  1. Sounds like a creative exploration gone terribly wrong!

  2. Hmmm, I suppose if it had been any good he wouldn't have been giving it away free? Papa always said, "Ain't nothin free child, everything got a price." Now, I suppose the price you paid was your loss of 20 minutes of sanity. That's a shame. That's 20 minutes of good thinking about your plot lines time. ")Bea

  3. I'm with you - strange that he did that, but probably thought that with a captive audience, he was entitled. :)

  4. Talon: Definitely so. If I remember correctly from the liner notes, he's got a few other c.d.'s out there.

    I think that if Chris Cefalu was allowed to tweak the music a bit more, it may have been a better product.

    As it was, they weren't even in the same studio/state when this was being recorded.

    Bea: Spot on! I lost twenty minutes of thinking about my plot lines as opposed to becoming immersed in a mediocre c.d.

    Lynn: Captive indeed. Some of these literary journals are somewhat boutique in nature and thus fill a very narrow niche in the overal reading landscape, and thus sometimes the editors feel that they have reign to do what they want, when they want.

  5. Tantrum?? You?? No, I can't picture it.

    Crap music goes straight in the bin, oh, that's a lie.. it often gets played at discos..Oops Upside Your Head being a good example.

  6. Joe: Unfortunately, what you say about crap music being played at the disco is partially true.

    It also makes it way to MTV. :D

    Seriously though, I really try to be as open minded about music as the next person (especially at my age), but when it comes to music I can't make heads or tails out of, I simply don't deal with it on any kind of basis.

    And I would never throw a tantrum in private.

    I would throw it in public...where more people can join in the fun.

  7. In a multitude of ways, this c.d. is disturbing.

    Let me put it this way: I have a c.d. by the death metal band Mayhem.

    I would probably listen to that one more times than I would this particular c.d.

  8. Hm, at least you got a blog post out of it? Just trying to find some way to salvage your music experience here :/

  9. Joanne: I think that's about the only thing I was able salvage out of this unpleasurable experience.

    Like I said, I try to be open minded about different types of music, but this was simply not to my liking.

  10. Haha! You're funny, G. I'm glad Chris doesn't submit to those genres of music entirely, it would make him look like he has no originality.

    A CD? That is so random...

    Nothing like using your literary journal to pimp out your latest unrelated project.

  11. B: I honestly don't know what kind of music he dabbles in, because I don't have the luxury of money to explore his website.

    But yeah, as for the other guy, I think he's trying to become the literary version of the King of All Media. He's written about a dozen books and recorded about four or five c.d.'s, none of which I've ever read or experienced.


Go on, give me your best shot. I can take it. If I couldn't, I wouldn't have created this wonderful little blog that you decided to grace with your presence today.

About that comment moderation thingy: While yes, it does say up above I can take it, I only use it to prevent the occasional miscreant from leaving thoughtless and/or clueless comments.

So remember, all of your comments are greatly appreciated and all answers will be given that personal touch that you come to expect and enjoy.

G. B. Miller

The Legal Disclaimer

All the content that you see here, except for the posting of links that refer to other off-blog stories, is (c) 2008-17 by G.B. Miller. Nothing in whole or in part may be used without the express written permission of myself. If you wish to use any part of what you see here, please contact me at