Every David Bowie album ranked…

Found this article, written by F50!! and posted at “Talk Amongst Yourselves” offers a ranking for all 24 of David Bowie’s albums (minus collaborations or soundtracks) from best to what he considers the worst:

Every David Bowie Album Ranked, By a Long TIme David Bowie Fan

As with any sort of ranking of this kind, the judgment is in the eye of the beholder.  For example, I wouldn’t agree with his ranking of Reality, Hours, Earthling, and Young Americans as being quite as low as he states they are.

Frankly, I feel David Bowie (Mr. Bowie’s first album) is probably the least of the works he has released.  Let’s face it, with David Bowie we were dealing an album that was released when Mr. Bowie was an amateur without a solid direction.

Still, there are a couple of interesting songs to be found in his very early archives, including this one, also mentioned by the author of this article…

I would then put Space Oddity, Mr. Bowie’s second full album, as the next on the list.  For certain there are a couple of very good songs to be found here, including the all time classic which the album was named after and The Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud, which Mr. Bowie noted in an interview was the first song which he considered a proper “David Bowie” song…

From there I’d go with Never Let Me Down, a very disappointing album that nonetheless also featured some good songs but…well, it just felt like Mr. Bowie was alternately trying too hard and not hard enough to create another “hit” album.  A big disappointment.

From there, its up to everyone’s own taste, IMHO, where each album lies.  But of the albums released (and going by the list provided here, eliminating soundtracks and collaborations), what would be my top 5 David Bowie albums?

For as big a fan as myself, this is not an easy task.

But here goes (and they are presented in order of release and not preference. This list, by the way, reflects where my thought process is at the moment.  A year from now, who knows?).

Regardless, you can’t lose, IMHO, with any of these five albums:

The Man Who Sold The World

The Man Who Sold The World:  I consider this the first “real” David Bowie album from start to finish.  A dark, macabre work that came ages before, yet featured elements which would appear in heavy metal, goth, etc. etc. work to come years later.  By now most people know the song which gave the album its title and it is one of David Bowie’s best.  But also check out The Width of a Circle or Supermen or Saviour Machine, etc.  A very strong album.

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars:  Of all the albums David Bowie made, this is the one everyone will include on his top 5 release list and, further, likely put it at #1.  Who am I to argue?  Ziggy Stardust is an incredibly ambitious yet very “tight” album.  It is one of the earliest concept albums ever created and involves a decaying, dying earth that is visited by an alien rock God named Ziggy Stardust.  A terrific album with terrific songs from start to end.  (By the way, the song All The Young Dudes, written by David Bowie but given to Mott the Hoople to record was originally intended to be a part of this album and fits on it very nicely.  I suspect it would have fit in right after the album’s first song, Five Years.  A David Bowie version of the song is available as well).

Aladdin Sane - 30th Anniversary Remaster

Aladdin Sane: Coming hot off the heels of Ziggy Stardust was that album’s follow-up/companion Aladdin Sane.  Some have called the album “Ziggy Stardust comes to America” and they’re not far off the mark.  While not quite as good as Ziggy Stardust, this album remains one of my all time favorites.  I absolutely love Panic In Detroit, Drive In Saturday, Aladdin Sane, and the chilling Lady Grinning Soul.

Scary Monsters

Scary Monsters (And SuperCreeps):  I have to admit, though unintended, the last two albums in this list (this one and the next) could easily be substituted by any number of other great Bowie works.  For example, I’ve not mentioned at all his wonderful Berlin Trilogy of Low, Heroes, and Lodger?  Thought I know there are those who don’t like it that much, I absolutely love the admittedly more shallow/hit filled Let’s Dance.  And what of Station to Station and Young Americans?  And Hunky Dory and Diamond Dogs!  How could they not fall somewhere on this list as well?!  And that great final album, Blackstar!  Where is it?!  Well, as I said, this is my list and while those I just mentioned are terrific albums, they fall just a hair below this and the next album on my top 5 list.  Scary Monsters is, like David Bowie’s best albums, ambitious in scope and features many different -and at times very wild- music choices.  This is an album that is great from start to finish though I would point out the underrated Teenage Wildlife for special attention.  Great stuff.

1. Outside (Expanded Edition)

1 Outside:  When this album was originally released in 1995, I was shocked by how much the critics hated it.  In fact, there were very few (if any) I could find that actually liked the album.  It was a weird experience because for me the album was nothing short of amazing and featured some incredibly strong tracks (I Have Not Been To Oxford Town, Thru These Architect Eyes, I’m Deranged, Heart’s Filthy Lesson, Strangers When We Meet, etc.) and a bizarre, almost Blade Runner/William Gibson-like sci-fi concept involving the end of the century.  Over the years, it appears there has been a re-evaluation of this album and many people now seem to have recognized the album’s quality versus when it was first released.

Look, I’ll be blunt here:  I can sorta understand where the original criticism came from.  1. Outside is a very overstuffed work.  It features a plethora of songs and styles and there are oddball “segues” between many of the songs wherein a story is told by David Bowie using distorted voices.  Yes, I can see where some might have felt this was all a little too much.

But that’s what makes the album so damn good!  1. Outside is an immersive experience and, if you’re willing to give it a try and roll with it, I promise you will be amazed.  A great, great work.


So there you have it, my all time favorite five David Bowie albums.  Your mileage, as they say, might vary.

A little bit more on writing…

Some of the stuff that goes through my mind:

Last night my wife and I watched the Amy Schumer film Trainwreck.  Actually, I sorta watched it, getting halfway through it before taking a shower. I returned to see the rest of the film (probably missed only ten or so minutes as my wife had to pause it for some phone calls that happened to come while I was showering).

The reason I’m not writing a (mildly) belated review on the film, however, is because I didn’t see the film all the way through and feel it isn’t right to give an in depth review of something you didn’t see completely, even if you did wind up seeing close to 90% of it.

I will say this, however: What I saw was a fun, though at times gleefully vulgar (I didn’t mind!) romantic-comedy featuring an appealing turn by Amy Schumer as the titular character (in other people’s hands she might have come across as a terrible person.  Such was not the case here) and a very charismatic performance by Bill Hader as the romantic interest.  Also worth pointing out is Tilda Swinton, completely unrecognizable yet hilarious as “Amy’s” boss.  Even though I didn’t see the entire film, I recommend it to anyone who likes romantic comedies and doesn’t mind if the comedy is at times quite crude.

Having said that, what I found most fascinating while watching the film was that despite certain differences, the film nonetheless hewed closely to the tried and true “romantic comedy” formula.

To my mind the formula roughly goes like this:

  1. Usually your romantic comedy starts with a woman/man who are either in a loveless relationship or single and (possibly) looking.  In the case of Trainwreck, “Amy” is dating a muscular jock but hooks up with many, many others on the side.  She’s promiscuous and this is explained as the influence her father’s life has on her.
  2. The next step is to introduce the woman to the man.  Romantic comedies will vary this step depending on the story being told.  Sometimes the man/woman hate each other for any number of reasons.  Equally often, the woman and man seem to have absolutely nothing in common.  In Trainwreck, though they don’t “hate” each other upon first meeting, the concept opposites attract is employed.  Promiscuous, “trainwreck” Amy falls for much more conservative/down to earth Doctor.
  3. This third part of your romantic comedy film finds the main characters falling in love with each other.  There are cute/romantic/humorous scenarios sprinkled about along and all seems so very well.  However, a good romantic comedy sprinkles the seeds of discontent within this part, hinting things may fall apart because…
  4. Things fall apart.  The woman/man break up over any number of circumstances.  There may be a misunderstanding, there may be a “screwball” situation (ie s/he sees him/her with another wo/man and misinterprets what s/he sees and thinks the worst, etc. etc.).  In Trainwreck’s case, the pull of so many years of “bad choices” by “Amy” makes her think there is no way the relationship with her sweet companion can last.  A family tragedy causes her to disintegrate and self-destruct.  But fear not, romantic comedy fans, because after the fall comes the inevitable…
  5. …rousing climax, wherein our character(s) realize they are made for each other and one/both of them create a situation where they show their love and reconnect.  The better the movie, the more funny/touching this re-connection climax is.  In the case of Trainwreck, it was indeed clever and touching and tied in to some disparaging comments “Amy” made earlier in the film regarding women involved in a certain career.

Now, I’ve stated this before and I’ll say it again: I’m not a particularly big fan of Romantic Comedies.  So you may be wondering: Why have I devoted so much thought into the elements that make up a Romantic Comedy?

Because as a writer, I feel that in order to create works that you feel are as unique as possible, you should have an understanding of the various genres out there and the beats they follow.

Western films, for example, often carry certain elements beyond the obvious visual ones (ie, horses, trains, Indians, small towns, Sheriffs, gunplay, etc.).  More often than not westerns are morality tales which involve a good guy confronting a bad guy while dealing with a love interest.  This is why so many people note that movies in other genres are essentially “westerns” as well.

Dirty Harry, set in then modern San Francisco, was essentially a pseudo western with your Sheriff (Clint Eastwood’s Harry Callahan) dealing with a dangerous psychopath while also dealing with regulations and bureaucracy.  Similarly, Die Hard could be viewed as a typical “siege” story, wherein the evil Indians have taken over a military fort and it is up to our resourceful hero to outwit and defeat them as the cavalry approaches.  Star Wars (the original film) is likewise essentially a sci-fi western.  It features a “green” gunslinger meeting up with a veteran, though over the hill, gunslinger and along with his friends going up against the evil railroad company (ie, the Empire) which is determined to ravage his homestead.

What should be clear about these examples (and my more elaborate rundown of the romantic film) is that while you can create something very entertaining in your writings, there is little chance you’re going to create a story that is soooo totally unique and original as to be unrecognizable from anything that came beforehand.  But if you do, it’ll probably be so alien as to be hard for others to appreciate.

And it is here that the sliding scale regarding originality comes in.

While I may admire a Dirty Harry and Die Hard and, yes, Trainwreck even though many of the tropes present in these features can be found in other genre works, it is in how the people who made each film tell their story where a work succeeds…or not.

I’ve talked before about hating Guardians of the Galaxy.  To me, the film felt a little to much, again in my opinion, like a beat for beat remake of the original Star Wars.  (I haven’t seen The Force Awakens but, based on some of the criticism some have expressed that the film was essentially a remake of the original Star Wars, I suspect I won’t like that film either)  I also felt disappointed with Kill Bill 1 and 2 because, to my mind, it felt like Quentin Tarantino was trying to do a Kung Fu version of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

Why would I want to watch either films when I can just go watch the far better originals?

The ultimate point is this: As a writer, it pays to develop a strong grasp of the underlying tropes found in various genres, whether they be comedy, action, western, science fiction, etc. etc. etc.

If nothing else, it gives you a firm foundation upon which you can write your own works.  But beware…Using common foundations is one thing.

Ripping off a story is quite another.

An analysis of The Beatles…

Found this fascinating chart which examines The Beatles music and was created by Adam McCann…

Dueling Data: The Beatles

I’m loath to post the chart here as I want people to go to Mr. McCann’s website but I will say this: He breaks down the songs in a very interesting way, giving us an idea of how prolific each Beatles was, how many hit songs each (and in collaboration) had, and even which songs featured the most/least words in them!

Again, I don’t want to steal Mr. McCann’s thunder (and work) by simply cut and pasting his chart here.

If you’re a Beatles fan like I am, you’ll find the work fascinating.

Has Apple peaked?

I’ve commented before regarding articles about the slow-down in sales of desktop computers and, going hand-in-hand with this, the idea that desktop computers may be falling out of favor or *gasp* disappearing.

I’ve noted that I don’t believe that to be the case.  There are plenty of professionals out there (me included) who absolutely need a desktop computer to do all our stuff on.  In my case, writing, Excel, Photoshop, etc.  I have a Surface which allows me to do some of that stuff as well and also carry around an iPad which I use mostly to quickly check my email and do some web-surfing when I’m away from my main computer(s).

The thing about the desktop computer sales slowdown, in my opinion, lies in the fact that these computers have gotten too good.  There used to be a time when you had to upgrade your computer, often each year, because the new model was so much better than the previous model.  For the past five plus years, however, this is simply not the case.  The processors haven’t become significantly faster.  The operating systems haven’t needed significantly better systems.  Worse -at least for the PC makers- is the fact that these computers can last years without needing to be replaced.

Thus, there simply is no cause to buy a new one if you are happy with your “old” system.

Along those lines, there has been much speculation, following Apple’s “all time record earnings” reported last Tuesday, that the company may be, despite this normally good news, in decline.

Over on Slate.com Will Oremus goes into this:

Apple May Have Peaked in 2015

I believe Apple is experiencing (or is about to experience) exactly what the desktop computer market has experienced.  Apple’s growth, to my mind, was based on each year coming out with a significantly “better” iPhone or iPad or what-have-you and they have now reached a point where there is no significant innovation to be made upward.

Sure, their new phones may have some interesting new tweaks, but the reality is that this is all these new phones have: relatively minor tweaks.  In effect, people can hang on to their “old” phones much longer now without feeling the need to replace them and, as the article above notes, Apple’s bread and butter (and bottom line) relies on the success of their phones.

So if their phones have gotten to the point where people may not feel the need to replace them each year (thus bringing in staggering amounts of cash), will their profits not take a hit?  Add to that the fact that China’s market is falling and you have the very real possibility of Apple getting their first major negative news in a very long time.

The people who love Apple and their products may scoff, but I remember not so very long ago that people absolutely loved their Blackberry phones and wouldn’t part with them.  So  much so the running joke was that the phones should be called “Crack-berries”.

The mighty can, and have, fallen.

About that tiny pocket in your jeans…

You know the pocket I’m talking about.  It’s usually on the right side of your jeans, a tiny pocket just above the regular pocket…

What’s that all about?  Well, prepare to find out!

Suzy Strutner for Huffington Post offers the explanation, and its an interesting one at that:

So THAT’S Why There’s A Tiny Pocket In Your Jeans

The more you know and all that… 😉

How far to the right do you have to be…?!

As I’ve mentioned many times before, I’m loathe to get into politics on this blog yet, let’s face it, with the presidential nominee race heating up, its tough to ignore.

Like many liberals, I’ve been severely turned off by the right wing and their policies.  In many ways I have a rather unique reason for my opinion.  I was born in a Soviet era communist country, then experienced a near-European socialist country, then what I consider a hard-right Republican wet dream of a country, before settling into the United States which, for most of the time I’ve been here, has been relatively moderate.

To put it bluntly, I’ve experienced it all and am not shy about saying that near-European socialist country (Canada, natch), was, along with the more moderate United States, my favorite places to live.  Sure the taxes may be high but given the public services you get, I felt it was very much worth it.

I’ve grown very concerned with the lurches to the right within this country.  When I lived in Venezuela in the 1970’s to the very, very early 1980’s, that country was essentially a Catholic right-winger’s wet dream.  There were almost no taxes at all.  There were also crumbling roads and infrastructure, packs of wild animals roaming the streets (I can’t tell you how often I saw the corpses of very large dogs lying in the middle of streets…there were no public services to remove them and they just rotted there until someone finally decided to take the corpse away.  I was also one day actually attacked by a pack once…not fun), a great deal of poverty (nothing like seeing impoverished children your age dressed in rags begging for money on the streets), a military presence in lieu of a regular police force, absolutely no legal abortion/parenthood services (how many women were victims of botched abortions I will never know), etc. etc.

I will give the right wing within this country their props: They know how to advertise their product.  To beat down what in the past would be considered moderate Republicans like (yes) Barack Obama and Bill Clinton takes a unique talent for spin and, one hopes, the party is finally reaching a point where hopefully people will finally realize they’re going too far.

Or will they?

Who knows.  This article by Dylan Byers for CNN points out how the Donald Trump candidacy is now putting what had been (I thought, anyway) a reliable right-wing mouthpiece in the crosshairs:

Donald Trump Tap’s The Right’s Anger Against Fox News

I mean, if this group of people think Fox News is too “mainstream”, I wonder what they’ll think is appropriate.  Or perhaps the ultra-conservatives are reaching for an ideal which doesn’t exist.

Strange times, my friends.


Over on Empireonline.com Batman v. Superman is the subject of scrutiny and some new photographs of the movie are presented along with some choice lines from the people behind the production…

Exclusive new Batman v Superman Pics Debut in Empire

Found within the article is this comment by producer Charles Roven regarding our beloved Bat-Crusader:

“[Batman] is not giving people a chance,  He is more than a vigilante. He has become not only the cop, if you will, he has also become the jury and executioner.”

Over on io9.com this quote produced the following alarmed reaction:

Waitaminute, Is Batman a Murderer in Batman v Superman?

James Whitbrook, the author of that piece, does note “this could just be a turn of phrase from Roven rather than something to be taken literally” while also noting “it’s a rare occasion indeed that you could describe Batman, a character known for a strict code of no killing that has been fostered for years in the comics and in other adaptations, as an “executioner”.”

I’m rather amused by the many and varied reactions people have towards the still a couple of months away release of Batman v Superman.

There is of course a very vocal contingent of people who have already thrown their hands in the air and declared the movie to be a complete disaster…even though like me they’ve seen only a few minutes at most of the film via the various previews/trailers.

To some degree I understand the sentiment.  There are those who feel they’ve sampled enough of director Zach Snyder’s work -and especially the movie this one is a sequel to, Man of Steel– and therefore feel whatever he produces will fall along the same “terrible” (in their opinion) lines.  At least with Mr. Snyder you have a track record to consider and, therefore, it is understandable one feels based on it the next film might fall along the same lines.

However, I also feel those criticizing the not-yet-released movie are also echoing many decades’ worth of Marvel vs. DC talk.  Just as people have their favorite sports teams -and “favorite” rivals whom they cannot stand- there has been a Marvel vs. DC competition going on for nearly as long as I can remember following comic books.

I know people, for example, who don’t care for and wouldn’t buy any comic books featuring DC characters.  The product, they would argue, is inferior to that of Marvel.  Likewise there were those who never could get into the Marvel characters and therefore would only follow DC comic books.

When the Richard Donner directed Superman film came out in 1978, it essentially showed the studios that a superhero film could be made successfully.  Unfortunately, the roadmap wasn’t followed very well and a slew of inferior superhero movies (many of them Marvel heroes, both on TV and in theaters) appeared.  Worse, Richard Donner was fired before completing Superman II and the hybrid Lester Dent co-directed film that made it to theaters, while a success, was nonetheless viewed over time as an inferior product.  The less said about the terrible Superman III and IV the better.

So that first “wave” of Superhero films died, in my opinion, with the 1987 release of Superman IV.  In 1989, a mere two years later, Tim Burton would hit solid gold with the release of the Michael Keaton/Jack Nicholson Batman film.  It was a wild, though in my opinion not altogether successful, merging of superhero concepts into film.  We had darkness, we had a “serious” take on the genre, but we also, especially in the film’s second half, had the camp.  In many ways Batman was a darker (natch) version of Richard Donner’s Superman in that it took many disparate elements from the Batman mythos and crammed them all together in one feature film.

The film’s wild success meant sequels, and Tim Burton, unlike Richard Donner, returned for the, IMHO, inferior Batman Returns.  While retaining the same visual delight, the film was alive, again IMHO, only in the parts featuring Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman.  Otherwise, it was a confused dud.

Subsequent Batman films, 1995’s Batman Forever and 1997’s Batman and Robin, were directed by Joel Schumacher and leaned much heavier on camp.  While I felt both films were essentially on par with each other (ie one wasn’t significantly worse or better than the other), by the time Batman and Robin appeared in theaters, movie and comic book fans had enough of this type of Batman.  As with the first wave of superhero films, the second wave ended with a movie audiences -those that actually saw the product- hated.

So we had a period of time with relatively few superhero films.  The genre appeared shot.

And then came what I consider the third major superhero wave.  It started with two successes, the 2000 feature X-Men (which Richard Donner executive produced) and the Sam Raimi directed Spider-Man (2002), along with a misfire in 2003’s Ang Lee directed Hulk. (And I haven’t even gotten into the Blade movies!)

The ball, however, was rolling.

In 2005 appeared the Christopher Nolan directed Batman Begins followed by 2008’s Robert Downey Jr. starring Iron Man.  Each of these films shared more subtle (not quite as campy) humor and were remarkably down to earth, excepting when the superheroic stuff happened, versus some of the films that came beforehand.  They nonetheless delivered spectacle while trying to place their heroes in a “real” earth setting (or as “real” as one can get considering).

While DC movies did relatively well, the Warner Brother’s focus turned almost exclusively toward Batman in films (there would be plenty of TV shows in and around these times, something DC has mined much more successfully, so far, than Marvel) while the Marvel films, cleverly, began building an intricate weave of tidbits pointing to future stories.  Marvel films (I’m not including the Fox produced films here) got audiences excited for the possibility of seeing more Marvel heroes appear, and boy oh boy did they deliver on that promise.

So here we are, deep into this third superhero age, and Marvel films are arguably more successful than DC films while DC TV shows are arguably more successful than the Marvel produced ones.  In each case, however, competition is building.  Marvel is trying mightily (ahem) to build up their TV presence, both on the networks and on Netflix.  Similarly, DC is expanding their TV presence while with the impending release of both Batman v Superman and the upcoming Suicide Squad looking to take on Marvel in the theaters.

Which leads me, after a fashion, all the way back to the criticism of Batman v Superman and specifically the line attributed to the movie’s producer.

I don’t know if BvS will be a good movie but based on what I’ve seen so far, I’m optimistic.  I say that even though I’m not a particularly big fan of director Zach Snyder nor screenwriter David S. Goyer.  David S. Goyer, in particular and to my mind, has been involved in too damn many DC hero films and I’d like to see others producing the screenplays.  As much as I love Richard Donner’s Superman, I suspect if he had directed every DC related film from that point on I’d be clamoring for other directors’ visions as well.

Having said all that, will the Batman of BvS be the character all audiences want to see?

I doubt it.

Batman’s first appearance was in Detective Comics #27 published waaaaay back in 1939.  Superman’s first appearance was in Action Comics #1 published waaaaay back in 1938.

Since then we’ve had literally hundreds if not thousands of individual authors and artists takes on the characters.  Some have been consistent, others have been very different.  In the end, I suspect it is impossible to distill either character into something that makes sense to everyone, given each of them have a 75 plus year history.

Is Batman a murderer in this new BvS movie?  I suspect the line uttered by the movie’s producer didn’t literally mean Batman was “executing” bad guys but rather he was pointing out this Batman is hard as nails and doesn’t tolerate crime/criminals.

And if that’s the case, it is in keeping with one of the myriad versions of Batman which has appeared on screen since shortly after the character’s first comic book appearance in 1939.

Of course, I’m only guessing here, as are all those who are bemoaning what a complete piece of shit this film will undoubtedly be…once its released in two months time and they finally get a chance to, you know, actually see it.

For all I know, they might be right and my optimism might be misplaced.

We’ll find out in March, won’t we?

McDonald’s is back!

It didn’t seem all that long ago that people were talking about how badly the fast food restaurant chain McDonald’s was doing.  In fact, I recall people were even noting the chain may be starting to slip away, eclipsed by newer, better hamburger chains.

Looks like things have turned around:

McDonald’s Sales Soar Thanks To All Day Breakfast

I don’t know if one can completely point to the All-Day Breakfast as being the turning point in McDonald’s fortunes (in the article, the CEO of McDonald’s notes it was this and the mild weather across the country that helped), but it is intriguing that a company not all that long ago considered spiraling downhill and potentially being labeled a has-been suddenly finds its fortunes so changed.

Me?  I try to avoid McDonald’s and most other chain restaurants as much as possible.  To me, these foods are at best passable and at worst terrible.

However, let’s call a spade a spade: There have been plenty of times I’ve found myself hungry and need to grab something quick and cheap and am unwilling/unable to do some cooking.  In those occasions, it sure is nice to have a places like this one available.

Legal news…

A pair of interesting legal issues were resolved (one, granted, for the time being) over the past day or so and the results are, to say the least, fascinating.

First up…

Texas Grand Jury Clears Planned Parenthood, Indicts Its Accusers

As I’ve stated many times before, I’m loathe to get into politics on this blog but the ironies involved in this case are too damn interesting not to.  A few months back, anti-choice activists David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt surreptitiously filmed Planned Parenthood staff while posing as part of a company interested in buying fetal tissue for research.  According to most neutral observers, the video they subsequently released showing the conversations between them and the Planned Parenthood staff were heavily edited to make it appear the people they were talking to from the organization were cavalierly willing to sell and profit from fetal tissue.

This created an incredible bruhaha…but in the end mostly among the right wing anti-choice crowds, including Republican Presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, who bizarrely stated in the Presidential Debates she saw things in these videos which just weren’t there.

Regardless, the controversy was enough to get many states whose politicians have a thing against Planned Parenthood to initiate investigations of the organization.  These investigations have led to nothing so far and, in the case above, even less than nothing.

In this case, as the CNN article notes, not only was Planned Parenthood cleared, but the accusers were indicted and now face the possibility of up to 20 years in jail.

A fascinating result, to say the least, but even that isn’t enough to stop the politicians of Texas (a state that is seemingly run by hard right anti-choice pro-gun folks) from continuing their “investigations” into Planned Parenthood.  And so it goes…

Second up…

FSU Agrees on Lawsuit Settlement with Jameis Winston’s Rape Accuser

Being from Florida, it was hard not to somewhat follow Jameis Winston’s career since he was a star quarterback in Florida State University (FSU).  Now the starting quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, during his days at FSU Mr. Winston sure found himself in many odd and sometimes very troubling situations, as can be read here:

James Winston Incidents Timeline

While these incidents run the gamut between trivial and very serious, clearly the most disturbing of the incidents involves the allegations Mr. Winston raped fellow FSU student Erica Kinsman.  She brought suit against Mr. Winston and FSU and now the school and Ms. Kinsman have settled the lawsuit for nearly one million dollars.

Given the amount of incidents involving Mr. Winston, one can’t help but wonder why FSU didn’t take stronger action against him, up to and including before and after the rape allegations.  It makes one realize the power of the purse college football has on a University, even one as large as FSU.

The fact is that Mr. Winston, despite his repeated behaviors, was an incredibly gifted college level quarterback and has proven, in his first year as the quarterback of Tampa Bay, a very good professional one as well and that makes officials who should know better willing to give the man the benefit of the doubt.

To be fair, since going pro I haven’t heard of any off-field issues regarding Mr. Winston so one hopes that perhaps he’s finally matured and/or the Tampa Bay team has him covered and controlled far better than FSU ever did.

Following the announcement of the settlement between Ms. Kinsman and FSU, the school of course continued to deny any wrongdoing and claimed the settlement was reached to avoid further legal expenses.  I’m absolutely certain this is indeed the case and, further, I suspect most of the settlement payment was issued by the school’s insurance company.

As for whether they would win in court, given Mr. Winston’s history I wonder.  Perhaps a settlement was in the best interests of the University after all.

Colony (2016) a (mildly belated) pilot review

Given I couldn’t watch the Fox channel last night see either the Panthers/Arizona game or the first episode of the new X-Files (read all about it), I finally checked out the first episode of Colony which has been on my DVR for the past couple of weeks.

Starring Josh (Lost) Holloway and Sarah Wayne (Walking Dead) Callies, the pilot for this series was intriguing but, at this point, I’m far from willing to be committed to continuing with it.

On the plus side, the show is well done.  The acting, cinematography, and special effects (though not all that many of them) were solid if unexceptional.  The story itself, involving a vaguely defined alien invasion and the subsequent subjugation of the human race, is far less interesting…at least so far.

Basically, we have a Nazi Germany metaphor going on here, with the unseen “overlords” having invaded Earth at some point in the past (Or did they?  Could there be something more going on?  Check out the trailer below and pay particular attention to that last bit of dialogue in it) and in California where our protagonists live, an ominous wall has been built which separates parts of the city of L.A.

When the show opens, Will Bowman (Josh Holloway) is having breakfast with his family.  All appears relatively normal but we soon realize that parts of the city are destroyed and we see people are mostly riding around in bicycles.  There are also some rather fearsome looking soldiers/police monitoring people’s activities and busting down those who may be guilty of something/anything.

Will leaves his family and smuggles himself into a cargo truck headed to the other side of the wall.  He’s in search of a son he’s been cut away from because of the wall.  However, the smuggling run is sabotaged by a resistance bomb which takes out the truck he was hidden in and Will is imprisoned.

Meanwhile his wife Katie (Sarah Wayne Callies), unaware for now of her husband’s fate, is shown going through a typical day.  She tries to get her hands on insulin for a neighbor’s child but the people offering it for trade are obviously trying to give her an inferior -and potentially dangerous- product and she is forced into near violence to get out of the situation with her bargaining chip (a bottle of liquor).

As night falls and Will doesn’t return home, the family becomes very preoccupied that something has gone wrong.

Will, meanwhile (redux redux!), is taken from prison and meets with the “Mayor” of subjugated L.A.  The man has discovered Will was once an Army Ranger (a no-no) and had hidden his identity.  Normally army officers are subjected to the alien’s “law” but because of his “skills” at finding people, the Mayor offers Will a choice: Either be subjected to that law and be sent along with his family to a labor camp (or worse) or collaborate with him in finding, and identifying, the leaders of the resistance.

There is, of course, no choice at all.

The show ends on a “twist” I completely saw coming and I suspect most viewers will too.  It is the predictability/familiarity of the subject matter along with the grim, depressing tone that have me very ambivalent about whether I want to continue watching the show.

Again, Colony is a reasonably well done show which has potential but if things don’t pick up with the next couple of episodes, I don’t think I’ll stick with it.

Your mileage, as they say, may vary.