The Greatest Bowie Albums

As my friends know, musically I worship at the temple of David Bowie. His death 8 years ago sent me into a weird depression for over a month. My poor spouse didn’t know what to do with me then. If you’re curious why I was so affected, I wrote something of it here.

Well, today is the 52nd anniversary of the release of the album that made Bowie a star: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars.

In honour of that anniversary, I decided to list herein my top 5 Bowie albums. You might disagree with this list. But you’d be wrong. I will offer no criteria or justification for my list. My authority on the matter is so great. Ready? Here we go.


5. Let’s Dance

4. Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)

3. Hunky Dory

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

1. Station to Station

You’re welcome. As you were.

Medieval (F)art

Not everything is about COVID, okay?

This past week I discovered the wonderful world of bad Medieval art. Here are some gems and what they look like to me.


Wicked Smaht Learnings in Bahston

Boston from the plane

Greetings from Boston (well, Cambridge, to be precise) where I have arrived to do some science-y stuff on the M.I.T. campus, specifically regarding the sequencing of my mostly-chimp genome.  Rest assured, further details about this frivolous and expensive adventure will be forthcoming.

The last time I was in Boston was over a decade ago. I had a consulting meeting with a large drug company that is headquartered in New London, CT. (I’m sure now you know which company. Hint: the meeting was in a large facility that I affectionately call “Viagra Towers.”) I had hoped that they would fly me into New York so I could spend some happy Manhattan time. Instead, they flew me into Boston and limousined me back and forth to New London.

Now, that might sound pretty comfortable (and it was), but for a working class dude like me, it’s weirdly uncomfortable having a chauffeur for an extended period of time. I always feel the need to make small talk, like he’s a taxi driver. Quite awkward. I would have preferred a bus.

This time around I’m staying within a 20 minute walk from M.I.T. I have to say, the M.I.T. campus is gorgeous.

There’s even a building here that’s supposed to look like a boat. Can you see it:

Boston is kind of cool. I like how everything is “wicked”:

And I just got back from my evening burrito quest, as always wondering if I should stray from my vegetarian tendencies and opt for the chicken.. then I saw this sign, right next to the daycare, and realized…. yep, it’s going to be a rice and beans night:

All right, I lied. I had a roast beef sandwich. Bad fake vegetarian Ray. Bad.

My favourite part of the trip so far is my Russian taxi driver cursing out the driver in front of him for not making the left turn on time. “Got to be a fucking Uber driver!” he kept saying. Now I’m afraid to use Uber here.

Random Musings

Today I watched the Fall finale of the first season of Star Trek: Discovery. I enjoyed it, despite the persistently unlikable main character, atrocious fight scenes, and character departures. As they’ve now introduced the multiverse, maybe this nonsensical abuse of the canon can make more sense: it takes place in an alternate universe.

Despite my intention to spend this evening holed up in a hotel room getting all kinds of shit done, I have instead been binge watching the 2nd season of Stranger Things. (Check out my review of season one.) So far I only have this to say: Holy shit, Paul Reiser got OLD!

I leave you with these images of medical art from the Koch Institute at M.I.T.:

Trivia Night, 2017

Following up on last year’s successful CSEB Trivia Night, we held the 2017 version last week on May 19.  There was substantially less turnout, due to the timing, I believe. But fun was had by all.

There were three rounds of 15 questions, followed by a 4th round of just 5 questions, with the theme of round 4 being all things Canadian. Due to popular demand, the rules for round 4 were also changed on the fly, with each point being worth 2 points, rather than just one, and 2 points being deducted for either a blank or incorrect response.

Here were the results:

TEAM NAME round 1 round 2 round 3 round 4 sum
rayputyourpantson 11 9 9 2 31
victorious secrets 5 2 5 -6 6
lets get quizzical 5 6 8 -2 17

Note that RayPutYourPantsOn changed their name several times. I just call them “Team Asshole”, because, well, you know.

Here are some pics:

The winners: RayPutYourPantsOn

Let’s Get Quizzical

Victorious Secrets

And now the questions. How well would you have done?


No Category Question Answer
1 Geography In which U.S. state would you find Mount Rushmore? South Dakota
2 History What was Malcolm X’s real surname? Little
3 History/ Science Who was the first female Canadian astronaut to actually go to space? Roberta Bondar
4 Science What was the first planet to be discovered using the telescope? Uranus
5 Geography What body of water separates Saudi Arabia from Africa? The Red Sea
6 History / Politics Who is the only U.S. president to serve more than two terms? Franklin D. Roosevelt
7 History In what year was Napolean defeated at Waterloo? 1815
8 Science What percentage of the world’s population is left-handed? 10%, 20%, or 30%? 10%
9 Art How many paintings did Vincent Van Gogh sell during his lifetime? One, “The Red Vineyard at Arles”
10 Sports Who was the last NHL player to play without a helmet? Craig MacTavish
11 Geography What is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea? Sicily
12 Science In computer science, what does “GUI” stand for? Graphical User Interface
13 Sports Who is the only athlete ever to play in a Super Bowl and a World Series? Deion Sanders
14 Geography /Business In what city was the very first Hard Rock Cafe opened?  

London, UK

15 Geography In which state of the United States would you find Fort Knox? Kentucky


No Category Question Answer
1 Science Which liquor is made from the blue agave plant? Tequila
2 Geography Yerevan is the capital city of what country? The Republic of Armenia
3 Music Which one of Prince’s songs reached highest on the music charts? When Dove’s Cry
4 Geography / History / Politics What did the letters of the former communist country U.S.S.R. stand for? Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
5 Science /Math What is the largest three-digit prime number? 997
6 Business What was the first commercial product that had a Barcode? Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit Gum
7 Sports What professional wrestler was the first to defeat the Undertaker at Wrestlemania? Brock Lesnar
8 Geography What nation produces two thirds of the world’s vanilla? Madagascar (also accept Malagasy Republic)
9 Art Which painter started the impressionist movement? Claude Monet
10 Geography What is the only sea on Earth with no coastline? Sargasso Sea
11 Sports Who was the shortest player ever to play in the NBA? Tyrone Bogues
12 History In 1783, the first free flight of a hot air balloon carrying a human occurred in what city? Paris
13 Art What does the Statue of Liberty hold in her right hand? A torch
14 History The Beothuks were the indigenous people of what Canadian province? Newfoundland
15 Geography What’s the capital city of Zambia? Lusaka


No Category Question Answer
1 History Who was Canada’s first female Prime Minister? Kim Campbell
2 Geography What’s the capital city of Croatia? Zagreb
3 History / Geography Which Great Lake did the Ojibwe call “Gichi-Gami” Lake Superior
4 Science Which blood type is the universal donor? O-
5 Science How many people have walked on the Moon? 12
6 Sports Which country originated the sport of Curling? Scotland
7 Business In what year was the first iPhone released? 2007
8 Mythology Who is the Greek god of victory? Nike
9 Science On what planet would you find the biggest volcano in the entire solar system? Mars
10 Music What was the Beatles’ first single (1962) Love Me Do
11 History /Geography Founded in 1607, what is considered to be the first permanent English settlement in the New World? Jamestown, Virginia
12 Philosophy “The Analects” is the name given to the collected wisdom of what philosopher? Confucius
13 Philosophy Who said, “Life must be understood backward. But it must be lived forward.” Soren Kierkegaard
14 History In what year did American women gain the legal right to vote in federal elections? 1920
15 History Who was the first woman to be US Secretary of State? Madeleine Albright (1996)


No Category Question Answer
1 Politics Who is the youngest Prime Minister in Canadian history? Joe Clark (40); Trudeau was 43
2 Music Who was the first person inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame? (1978) Guy Lombardo or Oscar Peterson
3 Business When did Canada abandon the gold standard? 1908, 1933, 1971, never was, still is 1933
4 Politics What Canadian province has the highest percentage of women in their provincial legislature? BC (39%)
5 Geography What is the only officially bilingual province? New Brunswick

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