Sunday, January 18, 2009

Chinese Democracy

Let me preface this by saying that I am entirely unqualified to write critically abut music. Other than the very limited ability to string together a couple of chords and cough out "Smoke on the Water" on the guitar, I have no redeemable music intelligence or the acumen necessary to talk intelligently about music. However, in listening time as an adolescent alone, I feel like I can chime in with something that resembles a reasonable thought when it comes to Guns N' Roses. From the ages of 14-17, most of my free time was spent listening to G N' R and banging my forehead against the nearest solid object.

Plus, I'm not afraid to talk out my ass, which makes this job a helluva lot easier.

Like most people, I was skeptical about Chinese Democracy. I mean, we're talking about Axl Rose here, who is the ultimate variable. But I decided one night, while being sucked into the vortex which is the iTune Store (ninety-nine cents seems so cheap for music, until you realize you bought 178 songs), and I was feeling a little randy, so hell, I downloaded the CD.

Now, I shit you not, I think Chinese Democracy kicks ass. The first three tracks---the title song, "Shackler's Revenge," and, perhaps the best cut on the album, "Better"---rival Appetite and Use Your Illusion II for the kickoff to a G N' R album. Yes, I said it. "IRS" and "Prostitute" are exceptional "let-me-find-a-solid-object-and-bang-my-head-against at 33 years-old" tunes as well. On the whole, it's a good, solid album--lyrically and musically.

No, it's not your classic get wasted and drop the f-bomb at The Grammy's Guns N' Roses. This is far more produced than their earlier garage days, ripping songs a new ass. But it works. I guess that's the most articulate my dumb-ass can get. It works.

Kudos, Signor Rose. I'm sure my endorsement means a great deal to you. But seriously, dude, don't ever braid your hair in corn rows again. White people look like tools with corn rows, and you, Axl, are no exception.

Also, I have a new poem on the e-zine Gnome for anyone who might be interested. There's some really decent work on it. I was impressed.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Generally speaking, I regard the gratuitous posting of pictures of one's self on a blog as obnoxious---the natural extension for the person who once counted the number of pictures of their self that appeared in their high school yearbook. But since this is directly applicable to the content herein, I'm going to have break my rule.

Last night, my wife Liz and I decided that we'd make a New Year's resolution that was actually attainable. From this day forth, we are not going to cut our hair until 2010. If you're wondering, there is no real point to this, other than making a resolution that we stand a chance of keeping. Will we keep it? Who knows. But it seems more rational than saying, for example, I'm going to go to the gym every day or I'm quitting drugs.

So here, take a gander. Here are pictures of Liz and I, and our hair, on December, 31, 2008. Notice I'm scratching my chin. It must mean I'm thinking big literary thoughts because people who scratch their chins in pictures are always thinking big literary thoughts. And Liz has her head tossed back like a starlet because every woman who lives in Manchester, New Hampshire, is a starlet. Quite the handsome couple, eh?

Right now, caffeinated and brazen, I think we're going to actually do this. God speed, my friends. And God bless America.