Friday, December 9, 2016

I highly recommend checking out the French film "Evolution"!

I love cinema, and as a lover of cinema, I like to believe I'm pretty open when it comes to the art of filmmaking. While I, like most everyone, have genre favorites and least favorites, I try to view and appreciate selections from each (well, besides porn). Regardless of the genre, however, there rarely comes a time when a film "wows" me - meaning a film significantly impacts me on a mental or an emotional level (or both), to the point of goosebumps and my mind being unable to shift its attention away from the viewing for several hours or even days. Well, this happened to me recently while viewing the 2016 French film, Evolution, and I felt the need to sing its praises.

Here's a summary of the film, posted on movie-review site, Rotten Tomatoes:

"10-year-old Nicolas lives with his mother on a remote island, in a village inhabited by women and young boys. In a hospital overlooking the ocean, all the boys are subjected to a strange medical treatment. Only Nicolas questions what is happening around him. He senses that his mother is lying to him, and is determined to find out what she does with the other women at night, on the beach. What he discovers is the beginning of a nightmare into which he is helplessly drawn. But in Stella, a young nurse at the hospital, Nicolas finds an unexpected ally."

In the end, I see Evolution as a creepy, twisted parallel on growing up, as envisioned through the eyes of a child. The film often centers its attention around the issues of: Power, trust, curiosity, and rebellion. The children are told by authority figures to take their medicine without question, to undergo screenings and procedures without so much as a peep. When they do speak up out of curiosity, they're punished. The world remains a mystery, and even as their curiosities expand, they're often shielded from expanding their knowledge on these particular subjects. There are times they want to feel free, to escape their world of limited freedom, yet in the end, even as they run from the hospital, they're greeted by the ocean. There are times they wonder if they'll ever be released from the hospital and be able to live life like the adults they see on a daily basis. It's not until the end we see the true potential in freedom, the evolution from childhood to adulthood.

Evolution tells a story which has most certainly been told before, but in a far different manner than I've personally ever seen. The filmmakers provide a creepy, almost haunting atmosphere throughout, as the adults and children see one another as alien lifeforms - the adult world seeming mysterious to the kids and the child world seeming almost forgotten to the adults. While the character development is minimal, the film tells a story any and everyone can related to in one manner or another, as we are all bounded by questions in the early portion of our lives; rebel to expand our horizons, feel a sense of power, and learn; only to fully evolve in the end. While Evolution certainly isn't a film for everyone, I highly recommend lovers of French/foreign/independent cinema to give it a chance. Evolution is a powerful film, which, if given a chance, won't be forgotten.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

#TrumpCabinetBand and #HolidayPickUpLines

I had a little bit of fun with the trending hashtags #TrumpCabinetBand and #HolidayPickUpLines on Twitter over the past couple of days. Here are my tweets, ordered from the most popular to the least popular (all my posts can be seen here -

1) Simple Minds (no change necessary)
76 Likes, 14 Retweets

2) "Do you hate those Kay commercials as much as I do? Let's prove not every kiss begins with Kay."
67 Likes, 9 Retweets

3) Notorious B.I.G.O.T.S.
57 Likes, 15 Retweets

4) Oldplay
35 Likes, 7 Retweets

5) "Unlike Santa, I don't need three hos to make me happy. I need just one and you're it."
27 Likes, 4 Retweets

6) No Marilyn All Manson
26 Likes, 3 Retweets

7) The Cult (no change needed)
25 Likes, 3 Retweets

8) Insane Asylum
21 Likes, 6 Retweets

9) Limp Dipsh*ts
22 Likes, 3 Retweets

9) The Artists Formerly Known As Humans
21 Likes, 4 Retweets

11) The Lying Heads
23 Likes, 1 Retweet

12) My Morning Jackasses
18 Likes, 4 Retweets

12) AC/DunceC
18 Likes, 4 Retweets

12) Megadouches
20 Likes, 2 Retweets

15) "Have you been a good girl or a bad girl? Tell me, how would you like me to fill your stocking?"
17 Likes, 4 Retweets

16) Filterless
18 Likes, 2 Retweets

16) The Cuckoo Dolls
18 Likes, 2 Retweets

18) Stoned Untested Pilots
15 Likes, 2 Retweets

19) Geezers
11 Likes, 5 Retweets

20) Crud, Debt & Fears
12 Likes, 3 Retweets

20) Prima Donnas
12 Likes, 3 Retweets

22) Worse Than Ezra, Big League
12 Likes, 2 Retweets

22) "If I were a Christmas tree, I'd wanna put you on top of me."
12 Likes, 2 Retweets

22) The Truth Fighters
13 Likes, 1 Retweet

22) No Debt (just kidding...)
13 Likes, 1 Retweet

22) Guns 'N' Posers
13 Likes, 1 Retweet

27) Van Hatin'
12 Likes, 1 Retweet

28) The Antithesis of Nirvana
10 Likes, 2 Retweets

28) The Leech Boys
11 Likes, 1 Retweet

30) The Blood-Hungry Gang
10 Likes, 0 Retweets

30) Armageddon's Children
10 Likes, 0 Retweets

32) Furth, Sin & Bile
6 Likes, 3 Retweets

32) Dittoheads
9 Likes, 0 Retweets

8 Likes, 0 Retweets

35) "Yes, I'm happy to see you, but yes, that's a mistletoe in my pants."
7 Likes, 0 Retweets

36) UNever
5 Likes, 0 Retweets

Totals: 710 Likes, 114 Retweets (Averages of 19.7 Likes, 3.2 Retweets)

My first experience with jury duty

During the summer, I received a summons to partake in a jury selection process on four separate dates from September through December. Prior to me venturing to the courthouse on the first three dates, I was informed that the cases had been settled. That wasn't the case on the fourth and final date, however, and I wound up sitting in a room of approximately 35 people Tuesday morning, of which 12 of us would soon be hearing and ruling on a legal case (14 including the alternates). While I was not one of the first twelve selected, after a couple of potential jurors were removed from their duties due to a variety of reasons, I was called up, asked a couple of questions by both the state and defense attorneys, and when everything was finalized, found myself sitting amongst the 12 jurors whom would be deciding the fate of the defendant.

Each of the jurors were then handed pens and notebooks, were presented with both the state's and defense's opening comments, before we observed the witness testimonies of three individuals, including the defendant. We were then dismissed for the day, returned yesterday morning, heard both sides' closing arguments, before returning to the jury room to deliberate, and that's where things got really interesting.

This was my first such experience, and understandably, I had no idea what to expect - this was especially the case when it came to deliberations between the other eleven jurors and myself. In this country, one is said to be innocent until proven guilty, and as both the prosecution and defense noted, the burden of proof was on the state to prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. From the opening comments to the closing arguments, I felt that they fell short of this endeavor. There were too many holes in the story, too many unanswered questions, too many contradictions for me to have felt comfortable in convicting the defendant, and due to this, I had a feeling (wishful thinking) the deliberation process would be a short one. Well, I was wrong.

When we got seated and comfortable in the jury room, I suggested we all take an initial vote to see where we currently stood and whether or not deliberation was even necessary. So we wrote our votes on a piece of paper and the foreman read the votes aloud. The tally was: 5 for guilty, 4 for not guilty, and 3 with question marks. It was at that point I knew it was going to be a long afternoon, with a mistrial being quite possible. To all twelve jurors' credit, we all displayed respect when another was talking and things never got out of hand as far as tempers or arguments go. Then, not to toot my horn TOO much, but I did seem to be the voice of reason and persuasion between the jury's first and second votes, as I simply pointed out that, while it was easy for each and every one of us to try and fill the holes in the story ourselves, to try and answer the questions we still had regarding the case, and ultimately rule on what we don't know, but as the judge told us, we can only make our decisions based on the evidence we were presented in court. We can't go by gut feeling or emotion. We can't allow prejudice to interfere with deciding another person's fate. We can't Google information about the defendant. We could only use the information provided to us in the courtroom to decide whether or not she was guilty, and we had to ultimately decide whether or not the state did its job in proving, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant committed the crimes for which she was accused. I then pointed out some inconsistencies I observed/heard via my notes, some holes in the story, several unanswered questions which still remained, and closed by saying, "Look, it's possible she's guilty of at least one of these five crimes, but it wasn't proven beyond a reasonable doubt. We're not ruling on whether or not she's completely innocent. We're deciding whether the state attorneys proved beyond a reasonable doubt whether she was guilty or not, and I can't for the life of me believe they did." 

After 60-90 minutes, I suggested we take a second vote to see if we had made any progress in one direction or the other. The tally went from 5 guilty, 4 not guilty, 3 question marks to 9 not guilty, 2 guilty, 1 question mark. The individual who wrote a question mark spoke up and said he was leaning not guilty, so we had just two more individuals to convince. Before too terribly long, we were able to provide reasonable doubt to one of the two, were standing at 11-1, with the lone holdout being the foreman. To his credit, he didn't extend his holdout for longer than 15-30 minutes. A former attorney then spoke up and said, "We used to have this inside ruling, where we said, 'Not guilty, but not innocent.' We also said, 'It's better to let a guilty person go free than to lock up someone who's innocent'."

When we reentered the courtroom and the judge read off our rulings, I simply watched the expressions on the faces of the attorneys, and especially the defendant. In all honesty, I didn't sense any feelings of anger, surprise, or disappointment from the state attorneys. What I did see was joy emanating from the faces of the defense attorney and especially his client. When I started my way to the exits, I observed the defendant on a bench by herself, bawling her eyes out. Her boyfriend walked over, and as I was walking down the stairs, I heard him say, "I told you!" and, as she continued crying, she said, "I wouldn't have ever been able to work again." As tempted as I was to stand around and try to hear more of the conversation, wanting to know if I (we) ultimately made the right decision, I just couldn't do it. As I walked back to my car, mixed emotions came over me. I felt shaky, thinking that, while I (we) did the right thing, there was still a chance she was guilty and feeling a knot in my stomach as a result. 

After taking a nap, I decided, rightly or wrongly, to check Facebook to see if the defendant was on there and whether or not she provided any clues to whether or not she was guilty. Well, it turns out she does possess such an account and had already posted a very heartfelt message with regard to the jury's decision - coming across as genuine in her belief she was "innocent" and grateful, even suggesting that hearing the verdicts was the most nerve-racking, yet happiest moment of her life. Between that message and her profile picture being that of her and her four kids smiling, I felt a little more at ease with my (our) decision.

In the end, while jury duty was quite fascinating to me, it was also emotionally draining. The life of a young mother of four kids was placed in our hands. If she had been convicted of any of the charges, her life, and that of her kids, would have forever changed, and not for the better. While I had mixed feelings about my not guilty vote, however, I would have felt completely wrong voting guilty. If the jury had reached an 11-1 point in favor of guilty, with me being the lone holdout, I'm not sure I could have followed suit. A person is said to be innocent until proven guilty and it's the state's job to prove that guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and this didn't occur. No matter what the actual story is with regard to this young mother, I sincerely hope she uses this moment, for which she's shown a great deal of gratitude, to help improve herself, her life, and perhaps most importantly, the lives of her kids. Sometimes we don't know what we truly have until we face the prospect of losing it all. Hopefully this serves as a wake-up call to her and she experiences better, brighter chapters in the future. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Info on my Facebook business, Twitter, and Tumblr pages

Here's the URL to my Facebook business page. I update it fairly regularly, but still haven't put forth a great deal of effort yet in researching matters and attempting to make the most out of it. In any case, it can be perused here:

Up next is my Twitter page. I'm still not 100% certain what I'm doing on there yet, but feel I'm gradually getting the hang of it and am up to 53,442 followers. I update it daily with many of my own tweets, but also by retweeting some others'. It can be found here:

Lastly, here's my Tumblr page, which I've neglected quite a bit recently, but if you're at all curious, you can find it at the following link:

Weekly update of my book information

For new readers (and regular ones, I suppose), here's some information pertaining to my books.

All twelve of my books can be purchased in paperback form at the following site (and others):

The ten books I've written and released in the past 4 years (yes, I've been on a roll) can be purchased for much cheaper in Kindle form at the following link:

"The Tracy & Craig Show" (12/5/16)

In case you missed yesterday's episode of The Tracy & Craig Show, you can still hear it at this link:

Monday, December 5, 2016

Twitter records get shattered!

Thanks to all my fans and followers, as you helped me shatter some personal Twitter records over the weekend. In a 24-hour span, I garnered well over 500,000 impressions. Not only that, but this tweet has, to this point, earned 3,990 Likes and 2,309 Retweets. Thanks again!

He's the first presidential nominee to claim an election's rigged, that there was voter fraud, yet sue to stop a recount.


I had some fun with the trending hashtag #TrumpFirsts over the weekend. Here are my posts, ordered from the most to the least popular (all my tweets can be viewed here -

1) He's the first presidential nominee to claim an election's rigged, that there was voter fraud, yet sue to stop a recount.
3,990 Likes, 2,309 Retweets

2) He's the first "Christian," "family values" president to have 5 kids from 3 different wives.
1,791 Likes, 762 Retweets

3) He's the 1st pres. w/supporters who call others snowflakes while boycotting Starbucks, Kellogg's, & Hamilton over hurt feelings
993 Likes, 479 Retweets

4) He's the first president to firmly believe all important decisions should be made in 140 characters or less.
556 Likes, 207 Retweets

5) He's the first president to mumble, "I put the 'Con' in 'Constitution.' Without me, it'd just be 'Stitution'.'
375 Likes, 137 Retweets

6) He's the first presidential nominee to be provided daily timeouts due to toddler-like tantrums on the campaign trail.
340 Likes, 116 Retweets

7) He's the first pres. to rail against jobs going overseas while attending his daughter's take-your-father-to-work day in China.
232 Likes, 93 Retweets

8) He's the first U.S president elected by the people of Russia.
222 Likes, 97 Retweets

9) He's the first president to think "Cinco de Mayo" is Spanish for "taco bowls at Trump Tower."
143 Likes, 33 Retweets

10) He's the first president to have thought, "It's the first $1 million loan from daddy that's the hardest."
130 Likes, 38 Retweets

11) He's the first Oompa Loompa-American to be elected president.
65 Likes, 24 Retweets

12) He's the first president to think satire is synonymous w/clothing: "I don't like anyone's satire unless it has scotch tape"
59 Likes, 22 Retweets

13) He's the first president to have undergone a medical procedure to place a dead animal on his head.
56 Likes, 18 Retweets

14) He's the first president to have "bigly" wanted to do stand-up: "So, Two Corinthians walk into a bar..."
54 Likes, 14 Retweets

15) He's the first president to have authored the book, "How To Be a Creepy Father, Like Bigly Big League Creepy."
33 Likes, 11 Retweets

16) He's the first president to believe "fact" is a foreign word, as he pronounces it, "fass-tee."
26 Likes, 10 Retweets

17) He's the first president to ever talk about the country Jiiina.
13 Likes, 4 Retweets

Totals: 9,078 Likes, 4,374 Retweets (Averages of 534.0 Likes, 257.3 Retweets)

"The Tracy & Craig Show" is back!

Tracy's still not feeling 100%, but we're going to give it a go today. The first episode of "The Tracy & Craig Show" in the past month will be airing from 3:30 pm EST today until hopefully 5:30 pm. To check it out, click on the link below between the before-mentioned times.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

#DumpKelloggs, #BreitbartCereals, and #TheDailyShow

Over the past week, I've had some fun with the trending hashtags #DumpKelloggs, #BreitbartCereals, and #TheDailyShow on Twitter. Here are my posts, ordered from the most to the least popular (all my tweets can be read here -

1) Breitbart headline: "Would you rather your child had feminism or cancer?"
Kellogg's: "We're pulling your ads."
Trumpsters: "#DumpKelloggs!"
1,322 Likes, 819 Retweets

2) Grope Nut Flakes
667 Likes, 209 Retweets

3) Tomi Lahren: "I don't protest. I haven't been victimized."
Well then, she should thank those that protested before her.
609 Likes, 204 Retweets

4) Honey Bunches of Deplorables
525 Likes, 156 Retweets

5) Fact-Free Charms
506 Likes, 159 Retweets

6) Cuckoo Puffs
482 Likes, 142 Retweets

7) Honeycomb-Over
175 Likes, 67 Retweets

8) Ultimate Trumpster boycott
"Let's wait in line to see 'Hamilton' while holding a Starbucks cup in one hand & Frosted Flakes in the other!"
154 Likes, 38 Retweets

9) Trumpsters' boycott
Buy every Kellogg's cereal in town, dump into a bigly bowl, pour milk, swim around while yelling "Trump!"
145 Likes, 35 Retweets

10) Lahren: "For today's show, I'm going to perform a trick, Trevor. I'm going to deny white privilege while proving it exists."
106 Likes, 36 Retweets

11) Sucky Charms
116 Likes, 23 Retweets

12) Special KKK
86 Likes, 30 Retweets

13) Spray-Tanned Mini-Wheats
72 Likes, 23 Retweets

14) Count Suckula
62 Likes, 15 Retweets

15) Before last night's interview
Noah: "I have a little crush on Lahren."

5 secs into interview
Noah: "That was like the shortest crush ever."
63 Likes, 12 Retweets

16) Lahren: "Knock it off, Trevor. I'm 24 & like know everything, okay? Like, for real. By the way, what'd the KKK do again?"
52 Likes, 21 Retweets

16) Loopy F*cks
60 Likes, 13 Retweets

18) Lahren: "I don't see color & don't label, but still don't understand what black people are protesting."
44 Likes, 19 Retweets

19) A*shole Jacks
50 Likes, 9 Retweets

20) Tomi Lahren: "Black people are much more likely to kill cops than the reverse, but I don't see color."
37 Likes, 17 Retweets

21) Tomi Lahren: "What did the KKK do? What's that even stand for - Koalas and Kangaroos Kickbox?"
38 Likes, 13 Retweets

21) Whiteys
41 Likes, 10 Retweets

23) Totally Nuts Cheerios
39 Likes, 11 Retweets

24) Lahren:"I don't play victim but blacks had rights before women & I support a man who wants to punish women for abortions."
35 Likes, 14 Retweets

25) Frosted Flakes, Bigly White
36 Likes, 8 Retweets

26) Tomi Lahren: "As a Millennial, I hate labels, like big league."
34 Likes, 8 Retweets

27) Honey Quacks
29 Likes, 12 Retweets

28) Creepy Charms
32 Likes, 6 Retweets

29) Lahren:"Just because I'm a white person criticizing BLM means I'm racist against blacks? Did I mention I don't see color?"
31 Likes, 2 Retweets

30) Lahren: "Things need to be said, like I'm not going to answer these q's, don't know the answers, but will pretend I do."
23 Likes, 4 Retweets

31) Crazy Flakes (no change needed)
20 Likes, 2 Retweets

32) Captain Clunk
15 Likes, 2 Retweets

32) Orange Grahams
16 Likes, 1 Retweet

Totals: 5.722 Likes, 2,139 Retweets (Averages of  173.4 Likes, 64.8 Retweets)

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Ranking the albums of my three favorite bands (Part 1): #3 Def Leppard

I thought I'd take some time away from the crazy world of politics and write about one of my loves, one of the things which helps keep me reasonably sane despite the before-mentioned craziness - music. I have a wide range of likes when it comes to music. Growing up, my mom preferred to listen to oldies, while my dad opted for classic rock, and my family in Michigan listened to, what else, but Motown. My brother involved himself in jazz band, introduced me to some alternative rock bands. A few friends of mine enjoyed rap and/or country. Through it all, I've come to enjoy at least a few songs from every genre, including country, which is without question my least favorite style of music. Even so, though, I can't help but feel like rock 'n' roll runs through my veins. I loved it when I was a child and my dad played: Boston, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper, The Rolling Stones, Elton John, and Aerosmith from his record player, and I've been hooked ever since. While I love rock of all stripes, though, my three favorites bands are, without question, Muse, Marilyn Manson, and Def Leppard (with Green Day and Pearl Jam rounding out my top 5). My first rock concert was a Def Leppard in-the-round performance on December 22nd of 1992 at the Omaha Civic Auditorium - a show I'll never forget. Marilyn Manson's thought-provoking quotes, lyrics, and imagery paid dividends for me growing up, and my eyes were opened both before and during a performance of his I witnessed on February 8th of 1998 in Omaha, Nebraska. The mayor of the city at the time told parents to not allow their kids to see Manson live, which prompted two of my friends' parents to refund their tickets, and prompted me to write the mayor and express my displeasure with his attempt of garnering free publicity by spreading falsehoods. He was impressed with my writing skills, and well, the rest is history. As far as Muse goes, as an American, unfortunately, I didn't stumble upon them until 2008 after I moved to Ohio, but I've been hooked on their music for 8 years, have been wowed three times by their one-of-a-kind spectacles, and have done everything I can to spread word about them to others in this country. Yes, 17 years after they released their first album, six records later, and some still haven't heard of them. So, given all of that, I thought I'd rank my three favorite bands' albums in descending order, starting with #3 Def Leppard and closing with #1 Muse:

Def Leppard
11) (2002): This is the least Def Leppard-sounding album to date. Granted, the Leps have included pop in their music long before this album was released, but X is the first time the band went full pop, and it resulted in an album I rarely listen to, if ever. That's not to say the album is awful by any stretch of the imagination. There are some catchy pop songs, like "You're So Beautiful," "Four Letter Word," and "Torn to Shreds," as well as some decent ballads, "Unbelievable" in particular. However, the sound just doesn't gel as well as in other albums. One positive from this record is that it contains arguably the most personal lyrics in the band's history. If you're a Def Leppard fanatic like I am, then I'd recommend giving this record a gander. If you're a newbie to the band, however, it's the last album I'd tell you pick up at Best Buy on your way home from work.

Best tracks: "You're So Beautiful," "Four Letter Word," "Scar"

Worst tracks: "Gravity," "Cry"

10) Slang (1996): This is by far and away the most unique album released by the British rock legends. While X is the least-sounding Leps album in the band's history, Slang is the most experimental-sounding Leps album. You can listen to Def Leppard's six previous albums all the way through, think you have mastered their sound, but then once you start listening to Slang, there's a good chance you're immediately greeted by a WTF expression. Slang comes across as incredibly raw, experimental, with some Indian and industrial influences being heard/felt throughout. While this album feels much more cohesive than X and I respect the band trying to broaden their horizons, 20 years later, and I still haven't warmed up to it a great deal. If anything, I'd say I appreciate this album, and "Deliver Me" is pure ear candy if there ever was such a thing.

Best tracks: "Deliver Me," "Gift of Flesh," "Blood Runs Cold"

Worst tracks: "Truth?," "Where Does Love Go When It Dies"

9) Euphoria (1999): This is a mixed bag if there ever was one for Def Leppard. When '80s hair metal went to the wayside in favor of grunge rock, the Leps, like many other such bands, struggled to subtlely adapt to the times without losing their identity. They went from Def Leppard-esque rock on Adrenalize and Retro Active in 1992 and 1993 respectively, but then followed that up with an experimental alternative album in 1996 entitled Slang, which didn't impress as far as sales numbers go. So they decided to throw all of their ideas in a hat and came up with Euphoria. The album includes everything from electro pop ("Back in Your Face") to instrumentals ("Disintegrate") to old school Leps ("Promises") to arguably one of their best songs of all time ("Paper Sun"). This album has some great tracks, but comes across as more of a transition, identity-finding record than a complete album. There isn't much flow and it's difficult to listen to the whole thing all the way through anymore, but unlike with X, there are some definite standouts on Euphoria, "Paper Sun" in particular, which may very well be my favorite all-time song from the band.

Best tracks: "Promises," "Paper Sun," "Day After Day"

Worst tracks: "All Night," "It's Only Love"

8) Songs From the Sparkle Lounge (2008): After six long albumless years, the Leps released Songs From the Sparkle Lounge. The album plays like a hybrid of Def Leppard's early '90s work and their post Slang records, with some experimental touches added in for good measure. Songs like "Go," "Hallucinate," and "Bad Actress" bring back sounds from Adrenalize, while "C'mon C'mon" sounds like it may have belonged on Euphoria, and "Tomorrow" would have been fated for X had it been written earlier. In conjunction with that, the Leps add in a little country to the mix with the song "Nine Lives," and pay an ode to Led Zeppelin win the song "Love" - my personal favorite off the album. All in all, the album is superior to their three previous efforts, providing a touch of the band's past, a glimpse of what's in store for their future, but also showcasing a lack of certainty when it comes to identity and direction.

Best tracks: "Love," "Hallucinate," "Come Undone"

Worst tracks: "Cruise Control," "Gotta Let It Go" (sounds too similar to modern-day Bon Jovi for my comfort)

7) On Through the Night (1980): Here's where it all started for Joe Elliott and the gang - 1980's On Through the Night. The older I get, the greater appreciation I have for this album. In saying that, being the fact it's the band's first album, the overall sound quality is lacking when compared to their ten other albums. That doesn't detract from the supreme guitar-playing skills of Steve Clark, however. The intro to "Wasted" gives me goosebumps every time I listen to it. As is often the case with debut albums, this is the rawest-sounding record to date for the Leps. It comes across like the band recording a live concert from their garage. It's hard, heavy, and raw through and through, climaxing with the perfect epic close of "Overture," my favorite track off the album. This is where it all started, and I'm so glad it did.

Best tracks: "Rock Brigade," "Wasted," "Overture"

Worst tracks: "Sorrow Is a Woman," "Rocks Off"

6) Def Leppard (2015): Def Leppard's most recent effort, a self-titled record, is their best album in 22 years, and is something they can feel proud about if they decide to stop releasing new material. The first half of the album is decent enough, as it provides throwback sounds of "Hysteria" with "Let's Go," "Dangerous," and "Invincible," along with an experimental song in "Man Enough" and a crowd-pleasing rocker in "Sea of Love." The back half of the album is excellent, though. Outside of "Energized," the other seven songs are some of their best in recent memory. "All Time High" and "Broke 'n' Brokenhearted" are fun rockers. "Battle of My Own" and "Last Dance" are solid ballads, showing Elliott can hit notes not even Lep fanatics knew he was capable of. "Forever Young" shows an edge and contemporary touch I haven't heard from the band in quite some time, if ever. "Wings of an Angel" may be the band's best song in over two decades. Then, like Def Leppard did to close their first album, On Through the Night, with the perfect epic closer, "Overture," the band did similarly here, with the song "Blind Faith." No, this album doesn't rank as one of the band's best ever, but it's their best since 1993, and provides the British rock legends a drop-the-mic opportunity if they want to exit the stage.

Best tracks: "Forever Young," "Wings of an Angel," "Blind Faith"

Worst tracks: "We Belong," "Energized"

5) Adrenalize (1992): This is where the post-Steve Clark version of Def Leppard truly started. Five years removed since their last record, going through Clark's death, as well as drummer Rick Allen's accident, which left him with one arm, the band was ready to come on the scene again and rock the world. Being born in '81 and being only six at the time Hysteria was released, this was the first Def Leppard album I heard, which opened me up to the rest of their albums. This was also the tour where I witnessed my first rock concert in general, let alone Def Leppard concert (I've since seen them three other times). So perhaps I'm slightly biased toward Adrenalize due to all of that. In any case, while it may lag behind some of the band's earlier albums, it's fun, underrated, and features some of Def Leppard's best ballads in history - the epic "White Lightning" in particular. The Leps had been through a lot since the release of Hysteria in '87 and this album made a grand statement that, no matter the quantity or severity of the hardship, Def Leppard would persevere. After five long years, Joe Elliott asked the world with the opening track, "Do you wanna get rocked?" Yes, yes we do.

Best tracks: "Make Love Like a Man," "Tonight," "White Lightning"

Worst tracks: "I Wanna Touch U"

4) Retro Active (1993): Here is what I believe to be the most underrated Def Leppard album. This collection of B-sides is A-quality from start to finish, from "Desert Song" to the different versions of two of the band's best ballads of all time, "Two Steps Behind" and "Miss You in a Heartbeat."Outside of those two songs and "From the Inside," the album is upbeat, rockin', classic Def Leppard. If you're a Lep fan and have yet to stumble upon this disc, I can all but promise you won't be disappointed!

Best tracks: "Fractured Love," "Two Steps Behind," "Miss You in a Heartbeat"

Worst tracks: "Only After Dark"

3) Hysteria (1987): From a commercial standpoint, this is the band's greatest album bar none. The first six songs are all ubiquitous on the radio, especially: "Rocket," "Animal," "Love Bites," "Pour Some Sugar On Me," and "Armageddon It." That's not even including the title track, which also became a hit single. Hysteria was the turning point for the band. Prior to this album, Def Leppard was mainly a hard rock band. They combined more pop to their sound in the albums following this one. Hysteria was kind of the center piece to those two directions - between raw hard rock and more commercialized pop-rock. The album is undoubtedly a classic, but perhaps partially due to the seemingly constant replaying of some of its songs on the radio, I rank it below these next two albums...

Best tracks: "Women," "Love Bites," "Pour Some Sugar On Me"

Worst tracks: "Don't Shoot Shotgun," "Love and Affection"

2) Pyromania (1983): Here's the second biggest smash success for the band, and in my mind, the second best album overall. The only semi-weak track, in my opinion, is "Die Hard the Hunter." Outside of that, Pyromania is stacked full of hit singles like "Foolin'" and "Rock of Ages," and underappreciated tracks like ""Too Late For Love" and "Billy's Got a Gun." This is a pure rock album through and through, featuring plenty of grand beats, rockin' riffs, Elliott-esque wails, and no ballads. In my mind, this is one of two perfect 5-star albums by the band, but it falls just a hair short of the top spot.

Best tracks: "Photograph," "Too Late For Love," "Billy's Got a Gun"

Worst tracks: "Die Hard the Hunter"

1) High 'n' Dry (1981): Here it is, my favorite all-time Def Leppard album - High 'n' Dry. The album wasn't as big of a commercial success as either Pyromania or Hysteria, respectively, but to me anyway, that's part of its appeal. This album contains so many hidden gems, the chances of tiring out on one of them due to radio overkill is less than the chances of winning the lottery by playing Candy Crush. The only song off this album you'll hear on the radio at all is "Bringin' On the Heartbreak." Outside of that classic tune, High 'n' Dry is jam-packed full of raw and edgy-sounding rock songs, yet more polished than those heard on On Through the Night. "Let It Go," "Another Hit and Run," and the title track provide a perfect intro to the album, before things slow touch a bit with the before-mentioned "Bringin' On the Heartbreak." Then comes one of my favorite instrumentals/guitar solos of all time, as Steve Clark provides goosebump-worthy riffs on "Switch 625." The guitar intro on "Lady Strange" is, for lack of a better word, killer as well. "Mirror, Mirror (Look Into My Eyes)" is another rocking song, this time with a darker edge. That's not even touching on the rockers "On Through the Night" and "No No No." If it weren't for the less-than-stellar "You Got Me Runnin'," I'd call this a perfect album. Even with that average song, though, it's, without question, a 5-star album, and in my mind, the best Def Leppard record of all time.

Best tracks: "Another Hit and Run," "Bringin' On the Heartbreak," "Switch 625"

Worst tracks: "You Got Me Runnin'"

My Ultimate Playlists
Trying to include at least one song from every album in the playlists, here are my ultimate Def Leppard playlists, listed in descending order, with my very favorites presented last:

Playlist #4
1) "Stagefright" - 3:45 (Pyromania - 1982)
2) "Ride Into the Sun" - 3:12 (Retro Active - 1993)
3) "Tomorrow" - 3:35 (Songs From the Sparkle Lounge - 2008)
4) "Broke 'n' Brokenhearted - 3:17 (Def Leppard - 2015)
5) "Ring of Fire" - 4:42 (Retro Active - 1993)
6) "It Don't Matter" - 3:21 (On Through the Night - 1980)
7) "Action! Not Words" - 3:49 (Pyromania - 1983)
8) "Hallucinate" - 3:17 (Songs From the Sparkle Lounge - 2008)
9) "Invincible" - 3:47 (Def Leppard - 2015)
10) "From the Inside" - 4:16 (Retro Active - 1993)
11) "Goodbye" - 3:36 (Euphoria - 1999)
12) "Run Riot" - 4:39 (Hysteria - 1987)
13) "She's Too Tough" - 3:40 (Retro Active - 1993)
14) "Armageddon It" - 5:24 (Hysteria - 1987)
15) "Answer to the Master" - 3:14 (On Through the Night - 1980)
16) "On Through the Night" - 5:06 (High 'n' Dry - 1981)
17) "Hysteria" - 5:55 (Hysteria - 1987)
18) "Unbelievable" - 3:59 (X - 2002)
19) "All I Want Is Everything" - 5:20 (Slang - 1996)

Playlist #3
1) "Rock Rock ('Til You Drop)" - 3:55 (Pyromania - 1983)
2) "Go" - 3:21 (Songs From the Sparkle Lounge - 2008)
3) "I Wanna Be Your Hero" - 4:29 (Retro Active - 1993)
4) "Animal" - 4:05 (Hysteria - 1987)
5) "Scar" - 5:00 (X - 2002)
6) "Rocket" - 6:38 (Hysteria - 1987)
7) "High 'n' Dry (Saturday Night)" - 3:27 (High 'n' Dry - 1981)
8) "Disintegrate" - 2:51 (Euphoria - 1999)
9) "Love Don't Lie" - 4:46 (X - 2002)
10) "Blood Runs Cold" - 4:27 (Slang - 1996)
11) "Miss You in a Heartbeat" - 4:04 (Retro Active - 1993)
12) "Personal Property" - 4:21 (Adrenalize - 1992)
13) "Hello America" - 3:28 (On Through the Night - 1980)
14) "Action" - 3:40 (Retro Active - 1993)
15) "Promises" - 4:00 (Euphoria - 1999)
16) "Four Letter Word" - 3:08 (X - 2002)
17) "Excitable" - 4:19 (Hysteria - 1987)
18) "Tear It Down" - 3:38 (Adrenalize - 1992)
19) "Blind Faith" - 5:33 (Def Leppard - 2015)

Playlist #2
1) "Rock of Ages" - 4:08 (Pyromania - 1983)
2) "Rock Brigade" - 3:09 (On Through the Night - 1980)
3) "Forever Young" - 2:22 (Def Leppard - 2015)
4) "Torn to Shreds" - 2:57 (X - 2002)
5) "Bad Actress" - 3:04 (Songs From the Sparkle Lounge - 2008)
6) "Stand Up (Kick Love Into Motion)" - 4:33 (Adrenalize - 1992)
7) "Billy's Got a Gun" - 5:56 (Pyromania - 1983)
8) "Day After Day" - 4:37 (Euphoria - 1999)
9) "Come Undone" - 3:33 (Def Leppard - 2015)
10) "Foolin'" - 4:34 (Pyromania - 1983)
11) "Mirror, Mirror (Look Into My Eyes)" - 4:08 (High 'n' Dry - 1981)
12) "Let's Get Rocked" - 4:56 (Adrenalize - 1992)
13) "Two Steps Behind" - 4:17 (Retro Active - 1993)
14) "Lady Strange" - 4:39 (High 'n' Dry - 1981)
15) "Photograph" - 4:08 (Pyromania - 1983)
16) "Wasted" - 3:45 (On Through the Night - 1980)
17) "Gift of Flesh" - 3:48 (Slang - 1996)
18) "Let It Go" - 4:43 (High 'n' Dry - 1981)
19) "Pour Some Sugar On Me" - 4:27 (Hysteria - 1987)

Playlist #1
1) "Another Hit and Run" - 4:59 (High 'n' Dry - 1981)
2) "Deliver Me" - 3:04 (Slang - 1996)
3) "You're So Beautiful" - 3:31 (X - 2002)
4) "Bringin' On the Heartbreak" - 4:34 (High 'n' Dry - 1981)
5) "Love" - 4:18 (Songs From the Sparkle Lounge - 2008)
6) "Make Love Like a Man" - 4:16 (Adrenalize - 1992)
7) "Love Bites" - 5:47 (Hysteria - 1987)
8) "Tonight" - 4:03 (Adrenalize - 1992)
9) "Too Late For Love" - 4:27 (Pyromania -1983)
10) "Wings of an Angel" - 4:23 (Def Leppard - 2015)
11) "White Lightning" - 7:03 (Adrenalize - 1992)
12) "Fractured Love" - 5:08 (Retro Active - 1993)
13) "Women" - 5:42 (Hysteria - 1987)
14) "Switch 625" - 3:04 (High 'n' Dry - 1981)
15) "Paper Sun" - 5:27 (Euphoria - 1999)
16) "Overture" - 7:44 (On Through the Night - 1980)

Mentioned on Mediaite!

Due to a #BreitbartCereals tweet I posted yesterday, I got mentioned in this Mediaite article earlier today: