David Bowie Albums Ranked…

Over at faroutmagazine.com.uk they did a ranking of all the David Bowie albums. You can check it out here:

Ranking all of David Bowie’s albums in order of greatness

As I’ve noted many times before, I’m a big fan of David Bowie’s work. In fact, I consider him the all time best “solo” musical artist there ever was, though obviously he worked with many very talented musicians in his career.

I also have noted I like lists, though part of the fun reading them is finding where you disagree with them.

In the case of this list, there are albums ranked low I feel should be much higher. There are some ranked higher than I would have ranked them. Again, that’s part of the fun.

To begin, though, I have little argument with what they consider the “worst” of Bowie’s albums, 1999’s Hours, which is placed at #27. Many people, including David Bowie himself, felt his 1987 album Never Let Me Down (on this list at #24) is his worst and, frankly, I can’t argue with that either.

Hours’ problem is that the album is mellow -not a crime in and of itself- to the point of being dull, though it does have -like pretty much all Bowie albums- some damn good compositions.

I’m scratching my head a little at the second worst album, 2003’s Reality. While I agree with much of what they say about it -it feels like a middle of the road Bowie album- I feel like its better than second worst. In fact, I’d put the already mentioned Never Let Me Down, Black Tie White Noise (1993 and #22 on this list) or David Bowie ( His “first” full album released in 1967 and found one spot up at #25) lower than Reality. Frankly, I might also place Space Oddity (1969 and #16 on the list) below that album as well, though it does include the absolutely smashing first big hit Bowie created. Unfortunately, the rest of the album isn’t as good, though there are a couple of songs worth checking out nonetheless.

For me, too, having the 1997 album Earthling come in at the very low #23 also feels a little rough. While not my all time favorite Bowie album, it nonetheless had some really good songs on it like Dead Man Walking and, of course, I’m Afraid of Americans. The fifth least of Bowie’s albums? Nah, I don’t think so.

Similarly, one of my favorite later Bowie works, 1. Outside, is placed in #18, below #17th Heathen (2002). 1. Outside, IMHO, should be further up. Heathen had some really good songs, including the remake of Conversation Piece (though it wasn’t included on the album but was a part of the bonus CD issued upon its release) but for whatever reason that album didn’t do all that much for me.

Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) (1980) is given the number 10 spot, behind some damn good albums but also some headscratchers. I love Lodger (1979 and #9 on the list) and Let’s Dance (1983 and #8 on the list), which was my entry album to the genius that is David Bowie, but I consider Scary Monsters nonetheless a better overall album than those two, if not by all that much.

I’m fascinated they included both Tin Machine (1989 and #13 on the list) and Tin Machine II (1991 and #20 on the list) but have to scratch my head by the exclusion of The Buddha Of Suburbia (1993). While that album was a “soundtrack” album not unlike some other albums excluded which featured David Bowie songs, including Labyrinth, Cat People, The Falcon and the Snowman, and Absolute Beginners, the difference between that album and the others is that while they had one or two songs by David Bowie, The Buddha of Suburbia is a full/complete David Bowie album and included original compositions not on the BBC show the soundtrack was made for. It also has the original version of Strangers When We Meet, which was re-done and included on the terrific 1. Outside.

If you really love Bowie, though, the bottom line is that you’re going to have issues with this placement or that placement of the albums but, ultimately, its all about one’s taste.

I think just about the only thing most David Bowie fans can agree upon is which of his albums belong at the prestigious #1 spot on this or any such list: 1972’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders of Mars.

This was unquestionably Bowie’s masterpiece and the album which brought him his first major commercial and cultural -as in bringing “glitter rock” to the forefront- success.

Anyway, check out the list. If you’re a more casual David Bowie fan, you may find some albums there worth checking out!

Corrosive Knights, a 8/24/20 Update!

On August 8th, two weeks and two days ago, I posted my last update regarding Book #8 in the Corrosive Knights series…

This morning I finished the read through/pen & ink revision of Draft #6 of the book and, starting tomorrow, should begin transferring all those corrections to my Word file of the novel.

I’m thrilled with how things went!

While it has been a couple of weeks, the reality is that I spent the first week following printing out Draft #6 doing other stuff and simply didn’t find the time to get to it. While frustrating not being able to get to it, it proved a blessing in disguise as it allowed me to empty my head of any thoughts on the book and, when I got back to it last week Monday, I was fresh and rarin’ to go.

In one week time, a very short time indeed, I finished the read-through of the book and the revisions, as noted above, and I suspect it’ll take me no more than 1-2 weeks at the very latest to get the revisions on the computer and print things out and get to Draft #7.

As I mentioned when I was getting into Draft #6, I felt there were maybe 2-3 more Drafts to do before the book is ready. Now, as I’m on the cusp of entering Draft #7, I feel there’s 1-2 Drafts to go after this.

Most likely it’ll be two more Drafts which means Draft #8 will potentially be the last one I need.

The book is, if I do say so myself -and I believe I have already- terrific in my eyes and a wonderful addition to the Corrosive Knights series.

I really, really can’t wait to get it out there to everyone!

Soon, my friends. Very soon!

Bloodshot (2020) a (Mildly) Belated Review

I don’t think there’s a film out there that had worst luck upon its release than Bloodshot.

Officially released on March 13 of this year, it was put into theaters -if memory serves- on the very week that they were shutting down because of fears of transmission of COVID-19.

Such incredible “luck”, no?

Needless to say, the film didn’t do all that well. Then again, with the theaters closing off around them as it was released, how could it?

The film was relatively quickly released to VOD and, last week, it popped up on Starz! so, curious to see it, I set the ol’ DVR up and a couple of days ago I sat down and watched it.

To begin, the film certainly isn’t terrible, but on the other hand it sure feels like the studios imposed their will upon the movie’s creators and forced them to take what I suspect was an “R” rated action film and water it down so that it could be released as a more “family friendly” PG-13 feature.

The movie begins with a no-named soldier (Vin Diesel), dealing with a terrorist situation, then returning for R & R, meeting up with his wife, having an idyllic get together (all PG:13 rated!) only to then be kidnapped by associates of the terrorist he dealt with. His wife is brutally -well, as brutally as a PG:13 rating will allow- murdered and our no-name soldier swears vengeance before the terrorist associate kills him, too.

These early sequences, frankly, turned me off. They were so very, very idyllic and cliched as to be groan inducing. But as it turned out, the film was far more clever here than I thought (More following the SPOILERS!).

Our hero wakes up to find he died and his corpse was donated to a top secret tech agency that has revived him. He doesn’t have any memories of what happened to him before but comes to find he is now super powered: His blood has been replaced with nano-particles which fix him up when he’s injured, making him pretty much immortal/invincible.

He’s stronger, faster… and essentially an updated version of The Six Million Dollar Man. Only this Steve Austin actually died before he was “fixed”.

But then the memories of who he was comes back to him and our hero takes off… to kill the man who killed him as well as his wife.

To get into more I’d have to deal with SPOILERS and, as I said before, I’ll do that in a moment. But before I do, let me say Bloodshot, while far from a great film, isn’t too bad. Again, the problem lies in the fact that it felt to me the film was originally intended to be an “R” feature but the studios forced the movie’s makers to soften it up and that, IMHO, ultimately let the film down.

There is hardly any cursing. The action scenes, while competently done, never become terribly bloody or gruesome even though, especially toward the film’s climax, it looked like they could and should have been.

Is the film worth your time? In the end I can only offer a mild recommendation. Bloodshot wasn’t the worst film I’ve ever seen, not by a long shot, but it quickly settles into a mild presentation and never really wows you like it should have.

Now then…


Still there?

You’ve been warned!

As is depressingly too common, this trailer for Bloodshot, which I thankfully never saw before seeing the film proper, gives away the movie’s biggest plot surprise.

Once again: If you know nothing about Bloodshot and want to see the film, I urge you not to see this trailer. You’ve been warned, redux!

If you’ve just spoiled yourself by seeing the trailer, you’ve come to realize the big twist in the film: Those opening sequences which depict our nameless hero taking on a terrorist and then subsequently being kidnapped and watching his wife murdered before he’s killed and which are cliched to the point of parody… are false memories.

Our hero never faced off against a terrorist. He certainly never was captured and, we find out later in the film, his “wife” never was killed. In fact, she’s still alive and apparently the two broke off their relationship -they may not be husband and wife at all- some five years before and she now has a husband and kids and no desire to get back with her ex.

We never learn how Bloodshot -or rather his body- came to this high tech organization, but we do realize he’s been fed these thoughts with the object of having them be revealed so that he will go out and kill the person he thinks was responsible for he and his wife’s murder.

See, each time he has those memories “come back”, the person who murders him and his wife is different. Turns out the head of this high tech company, Dr. Harting (Guy Pearce, not too bad as the eventually revealed bad guy), is getting rid of his tech rivals who helped him conceive this super soldier nanites, and he wants his rivals gone.

I’ll be blunt here: I think that’s freaking brilliant.


Unfortunately, the movie is soft when it should be razor sharp. It never draws (ahem) blood like it should. When Bloodshot eventually faces off against Dr. Harting’s goons, its presented in an incredibly bland manner, to the point where we don’t even know if the two are dead.

Man, if Paul Verhoeven had directed this film in/around the time he did Robocop, that would have been something!

But he didn’t and we’ve got what we’ve got. A movie with a damn clever concept but a rather bland presentation.

Too bad.

Coronavirus Diaries 21

First, sorry for the dearth of posts.

I enjoy writing these posts but sometimes, very honestly, it seems like there’s little to say.

In fact, that was what I was thinking about today specifically: What’s there to talk about?

I mean, I could go into politics what with the Democratic convention (virtual) going on. I’ve watched a little bit of it here and there but at this point its not really worth my while: I know whom I’m going to vote for (big surprise, if you’ve followed these posts) and there’s nothing that’s going to change my mind about that.

There are -shockingly!- sporting events going on, basketball, baseball, and hockey, but I’ve pretty much avoided all of them and from what I’m reading so too have most people. The ratings are very low.

There’s very little news regarding movies as well, given that most studios have paused productions and only now are starting certain productions up. On TV, we’re seeing much of the same, with new shows paused while other shows are trying to reinvent themselves in this current self-isolating situation we’re in.

For example, Guy Fieri over on the Food Network is doing a “at home” version of -I believe- Diners, Drive-In’s, and Dives which has him at home talking to some five restaurant owners who have sent him packages of their latest/popular items and Fieri and his sons (nepotism is cool!) cook the food up as instructed and then try it out and guests fawn over their hosts and vice versa.

I know I sound pretty cynical in the later half of that paragraph but I have to give Fieri some credit in trying to help out restaurants and their owners by having these types of shows. While it isn’t advisable to go to a restaurant and eat in, most restaurants are open for take out food at the least, and keeping them in business is obviously helpful to the local economy.

I’ve noted articles regarding movie theaters that may re-open with films that are ready to go/be released, including the Christopher Nolan directed Tenet, Wonder Woman 1984, the supposed last Daniel Craig Bond film No Time To Die, and other somewhat smaller films like The New Mutants.

Unfortunately, I also read a report -sorry, not sure where it was from- where it was being recommended you not go to theaters yet, regardless of how they deal with spacing. The fact of the matter is that being in an enclosed area with a bunch of strangers is not a good idea, especially if you’re there for some two hours and even if you are masked up.

The air within the closed up theater simply increases the odds of transmission of Covid-19, regardless of social distancing and using masks, etc.

Eager as I am to watch some of these films, I’m not willing to risk myself to go to a theater to see them.

In the time since the first shutdown toward the end of March, I’ve gone to and eaten in a restaurant exactly one time several weeks ago (perhaps even over a month and a half ago) and that was because my family was celebrating some birthdays and at that time they were allowing restaurants to reopen but with plenty of distancing. Since then the rules have changed and the only seats/tables available at local restaurants are outside in the open air.

Still, I wasn’t happy to go inside to eat, I have to admit. I felt paranoid sitting there and looking over not only my extended family -and wondering where they’d been- but also the few other patrons in the restaurant.

I felt even worse for the restaurant staff, who wore masks yet had to come to our table now and again to take our orders and serve us while we didn’t have masks. You truly cannot keep your mask on until you want to get a bite and then take it off, have your bite, then put the mask back on while you chew your food, then start the whole process up again.

I have ordered food from restaurants to pick up, but that’s about as far as I’m willing to go with food until we have vaccines and/or more effective treatments for Covid-19.

The bottom line is that for me it feels like I’m going through some weird, pseudo-Groundog Day-type situation, going through the same motions through the week and doing some minor traveling to grocery stores and/or box stores like Costco or Target to pick up stuff we’ll need for the week.

We don’t spend all that much money and certainly don’t travel too terribly far nor want to risk ourselves around any groups.

Returning to our “old” lives, at this point, feels like something in the far future, perhaps not until sometime next year when most of the professionals have indicated we might get those treatments/vaccines.


I’ll keep working on my novel until its done -it will be soon- and then I’ll look around and figure out my next one. I’ll also keep working at the family business and trying to keep myself safe.

We’re all in this and we all should do our part. It pains me to see people walk around outside without masks but, at least locally, it seems like the police are beginning to stop people who are outside without them and issue fines.

It needs to be done. It needs to be reinforced.

I firmly believe we can knock this down quite a bit, but only if we’re smart about it.

Sadly, for too many people that’s a non-starter.

The 2020 Election…



As of yesterday, with the news that Kamala Harris is Joe Biden’s pick for Vice President, means that we now have all the actors in place and can officially begin the 2020 Elections.

I know, I know, it began a while ago when Joe Biden secured the Democratic nomination, but now that we have his VP, we’re stepping into the next and last phase.

To come: Debates and countless commercials along with many, many phone calls from either the Democratic or Republican parties or any third party interested in swaying your vote. Oh, and mailers.

Lots of propaganda mailers.

What will be missing?

Seems like we’re not going to have many campaign stops/speeches. Given the COVID-19 situation, even “President” Trump, with his constant attempts to downplay the virus or outright ignore it, isn’t making all those appearances as before.

Since the pandemic began, I don’t believe Joe Biden has made a single appearance anywhere, other than with few people (reporters, usually) or perhaps Zoom-type over the internet meetings.

Will this be the election where we see much more of that?

Also, what will happen with the debates?

They’ll be interesting because from what I understand there will be no audience present during the debates.

My instinct is that this will hurt Trump more than Biden. Trump feeds off the crazy, and sometimes his most head-scratching/stupid lines are buried with cheers from his fans.

In this case, he’ll have to lay out his ideas (I could make a joke here, but, seriously, does he have any actual ideas other than cozying up to Putin?!) and do so in a clear, logical (HA!) way without anyone whooping it up around him.

Then, after doing so, he’ll face Biden’s ideas/retorts and… I dunno. It just doesn’t seem like it’ll be good for Trump.

Similarly, I wonder how VP Pence will fare against Ms. Harris.

She can be downright wicked when confronting others…

I’ll grant you here and now: I very much hope that Biden/Harris not only beat Trump/Pence but that the election is so lopsided that not only is there no doubt they won, but that the Democratic Party also regain control over the very dysfunctional Senate.

Yeah, I know there are those who feel the Biden/Harris ticket isn’t “liberal enough”, and that we’re seeing more centrism ala Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016.

I don’t think so.

Still, it will be an interesting few months before November and the election.

Corrosive Knights, a 8/10/20 Update

Seconds ago I finished putting the pen and ink revisions into the Word file. Thus, Draft #5 of Book #8 in the Corrosive Knights series is finished!

I started this draft on 6/22/20, so it’s been some month and about a half that it took me to do this draft, minus the slightly more than a week I was off flying.

Not bad!

When I get to the point where I’m finishing off drafts in a month’s time -and I strongly suspect Draft #6 will take no more than a month- then we’re damn near the end.

Honestly, though, I thought I’d finish this draft yesterday, Sunday the 9th.

It didn’t happen because when I finished a section close to the end of the novel on Friday, I felt there needed to be more work done on it. These pages, which amounted to some 13 or so, were critical for understanding what was going on and, frankly, I felt they needed more work.

Rather than continue and get back to those pages with the full Draft #6, I printed them out and on Saturday read through them, pen and ink revised them, then jumped on the computer and essentially completed a Draft #5B on those pages.

I think I cleaned them up well, but it was a day spent going over something again rather than moving ahead and finishing up. Between Sunday and Monday (today), I did just that.

We’re getting there, folks.

Let’s see how long it takes me to do Draft #6, shall we?

Corrosive Knights, a 8/7/20 Update

Been a little while since last I wrote about what’s going on with the latest book in the Corrosive Knights series…

Today, Friday the 7th of August, I’m getting near the end of the revision process (revision #5) of Book #8 of the series.

While I could have waited and written this post when I’d completed the revision, I didn’t want to leave it until next week. Things are going well, incredibly so, and I’m finding myself with a big smile each day that passes and each section I clean up on the computer.

Beyond this draft there is still work to be done, mind you, and as I’ve written before there are maybe another 2 or 3 drafts to go before I’m satisfied and feel the book is ready for release.

But this draft represents -at least so far!- what could be my last “major” revision, ie dealing with actual story telling issues, and I think so far I’ve managed to fix them even as they have required sometimes rather extensive rewrites.

This is important, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned many times before, because when I move away from actively creating new material to dealing with how the story is told (ie, grammatical and clarity of storytelling issues) things tend to move very quickly to their end.

Again, though: I’m finding myself really happy with how everything is coming together, which isn’t always the case when I’m writing.

Writing is, as I’ve also mentioned no doubt countless times, pretty damn intensive work. For me, I’m most happy when I have the novel completed and especially with the paperback version in my hand and on my shelf.

That’s not to say there are never happy moments sprinkled throughout the writing process, where a particular section or bit or dialogue or description you’re working on just works.

Lately, though, at least through the past few days, I’ve felt this with each section I’ve revised and that bodes well for how close things are to the end.

I figure by this weekend, Sunday at the latest, I’ll have the computer revisions finished up and will print out the book and begin reading and revising it with pen/ink. In other words, next week I should be starting Revision #6. When the pen/ink revisions are done, then its off to put those fixes into the Word file.

We’re getting there, folks, and I couldn’t be happier!

The Explosion in Beirut…

Don’t know if you saw it, but yesterday there was a terrifying explosion in Beirut. Truly, a horrifying event…

Over on CNN.com, they offer a fascinating before/after series of satellite photographs which show you what things looked like just before the explosion and the crater that was left -along with all the destruction- after the fact.


At this point, there are at least 100 deaths, though I suspect that figure will rise dramatically, and over 2000 injured.

The cause of the explosion is still under investigation but it appears, from early reports, that the same chemicals used in the Oklahoma terrorist bombing were present in the port that went up.

Needless to say, port employees/bosses are going to come under some very heavy scrutiny for allowing these volatile chemicals be stored so near a major city.

It’s yet another aching and incredibly sad thing to witness during this seemingly cursed year.

Psychedelic Furs, Made Of Rain (2020) A (On Time!) Review

Back in the 1980’s, one of my favorite bands was The Psychedelic Furs. Their music was post-punk/new wave but they seemed to steer a course uniquely their own, with hits including Pretty In Pink, the song which became the basis/title to a John Hughes directed film…

Here’s one of their biggest hits and one of my favorites, Love My Way (love the drumming toward the end of the song!)…

And here’s the absolutely haunting and lovely The Ghost In You

The group seemed to build steam, becoming better and better and more popular with each new album. Then came their 1987 album Midnight To Midnight, which I personally loved but which others seemed to feel was a big drop in quality for the Furs, as well as embarrassing for the images they used (specifically, all that flashy leather) on their album cover and interiors…

Midnight To Midnight

While I loved the album, their subsequent follow up albums, 1989’s Book of Days and 1991’s World Outside, also in my estimation pretty damn good works, seemed to show interest in the Furs and their music was in decline among the general public. Neither album -at least that I can remember- made much of a splash and after the World Outside release, it seemed the Furs were done.

Lead singer/writer Richard Butler would go on to release two albums under the Love Spit Love moniker and, again, I liked them but yet again they didn’t seem to make many waves with the public.

The Psychedelic Furs, however, reformed and continued touring and, while doing so, Richard Butler and company decided they didn’t want to simply keep repeating/singing the old standards. They developed an itch to create a new album with new songs.

So an astonishing twenty nine years after the release of their last album, The Psychedelic Furs last week released their brand new album Made of Rain.

Made of Rain

Frankly, I was both astonished and pleased with the new material.

This is a strong album which is very much filled with the Furs’ best type of songs: At times morose, mysterious, and heart-felt.

One song in particular just blows my socks off, No-One

Just… wow.

While I feel that song is the highlight of the album, there are plenty of other great tunes to dig into, including The Boy That Invented Rock and Roll and Don’t Believe.

The album sounds like it could have been released in/around the time the other wonderful Furs albums were released. Yeah, I guess you could take that as a backhanded compliment: Jeeze, have they progressed any in all these years?

It isn’t a backhanded compliment, though. When picking up a Furs album, one expects a certain sound and tone and this album has it in spades.

A critic noted this album was like David Bowie’s Blackstar, a magnificent new work which neatly fits into and compliments the others.

While I hope this isn’t the last we hear of new Psychedelic Furs works, it shows that when Butler and company got together and decided to do something new, they didn’t just rest on their laurels. They came back with a beautiful, wonderful new work which proudly sits among their best.

Highly recommended, especially for Furs fans like myself!