Tag Archives: USA

Dynamo Deliverance

Today is the anniversary of the final day of the evacuation of Dunkirk in northern France in World War II. Code-named Operation Dynamo, the massive retreat across the English Channel ran from May 26 through June 4 in 1940. Thanks to the efforts of multiple countries, strategic planning and action, and some well-timed good fortune, over 330,000 soldiers were rescued from the encroaching German forces.

As I suspect is the case with many Americans, I did not know much about the Battle of Dunkirk or the scope and importance of its incredible evacuation until seeing Christopher Nolan’s film Dunkirk last year. I attribute this to the tendency we have to pay attention primarily only to what is relevant to our chosen history; in this case, as a citizen of the United States of America, I don’t generally consider what happened in World War II until December 7, 1941. Nolan’s excellent movie helped to show me the amazing story of Dunkirk, yet as harrowing and exciting as it is, I still did not grasp just how big on a global scale those 10 days were and the effect the aftermath had on England, France, and the World.

From May 10, 1940, the British, French, and other Allies, including Belgium and the Netherlands, were fighting a losing battle against the Nazis. The Battle of France was a six-week series of mostly defeats for the Allies that led to the Nazis taking France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. In the midst of this fighting, the British realized their forces – called the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) – and those of their allies needed to be rescued before the Nazis overtook them and all but won the war. They ordered Operation Dynamo, which sought to bring the English and Allied troops back to England where they would be able to regroup safely to return to fight the Nazis another day.

The first step of Dynamo was to secure an evacuation route from a good port. The biggest and best in northern France was Dunkirk, so the Allies converged most of their men in northwester France around Dunkirk. Certain smaller bands were designated to stave off the German advance in key areas with the intent to buy more time for the tremendous evacuation. Furthermore, canals were dug and flooded, and the BEF and French and their Allies utilized the natural marshes around Dunkirk to their advantage to set up countermeasures to slow the pace of Nazi troops and especially tanks. The British commanders knew that the German panzer tanks would not be able to slog through the waterways and wetlands. On May 24, the Nazi leaders and high command determined that an infantry and panzer advance was to be halted and the fleeing Allies be left to the Luftwaffe. Just two days later, Hitler rescinded his own stop order and urged the tanks and men to get back to the pursuit, but it was too late. The delayed march of the panzers – which also were unable to get underway for about half a day after they would ordered back into the fray – allowed the Allies to fortify their defenses and helped secure their escape. Had the panzers continued, then it is likely that many more Allied forces would have perished and the Nazis would have dealt a major blow to their greatest adversaries, perhaps even putting themselves in position to win the war. However, quite luckily, things did not go that way, and the British were allowed more time to send ships to retrieve and rescue. According to historians, Hitler assumed that once they fled to England, the British and French would simply give up on the rest of Western Europe.

Of course he was wrong, as he was about a great many things. The British people, soldiers and civilians, were resilient, a fact that was proven when the Little Ships of Dunkirk came to aid the evacuation. These were over 800 privately owned boats of all sizes brought into service of the Royal Navy to assist their own larger seacraft in getting men from the beaches to the ships and on to England. However, as the Naval forces were understandably thin, many civilians actively volunteered and sailed alongside the Navy men to pick up the Allied soldiers.

These events were shown in the Nolan movie (which it should be clear by now I recommend), as were the aerial role on a smaller scale. The Luftwaffe was frequently vexed by weather during the evacuation, but the Royal Air Force (RAF) also did their part in protecting the waiting men from threats from the sky. Most of these dog fights took place over the English Channel, and some fleeing vessels saw them, but the general sentiment at the time was that the RAF was not a help at all simply because the soldiers and naval men did not witness their protector pilots in action!

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the evacuation that was not detailed in the movie is the three different routes that the ships ferrying men to England took across the Channel. The featured title picture depicts these, showing that while it was a relatively short journey of just a couple of hours to steam north to England, this was not a realistic option for all the ships. They had to disperse to account for avoiding sea mines, aircraft, enemy ships and submarines, and fire from the French shore that was already occupied by the Nazis. Not to mention, nighttime travels were also bound by limitations. The shortest route was about 70 kilometers and was in line with shore-based guns; the mid-distance route was roughly 100 km, but was the most densely mined; and the longest route was near 160 km and took four hours to complete.

All in all, the incredible coordination between nations helped save hundreds of thousands and helped ignite the fire anew in the British and Allies. Prime Minister Winston Churchill gave his impassioned “We shall fight on the beaches” speech (the one at the end of the movie) to the House of Commons where he reminded the people that wars are not won with retreats, but added that England would never surrender, and that even if they were somehow overwhelmed, that the rest of their Empire and other allies in the world would come to their rescue in due time because they could survive until then. Fortunately, the British, French, Belgian, Dutch, and others were able to endure and retaliate in time, and were aided by their allies across the world. This is the part typically where my history lesson would begin, but it should be noted and remembered that so much was at stake on beach in northern France before 1944.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to drop me a line at monotrememadness@gmail.com with any questions or suggestions. I hope you’ll come on back here again next week for a dive into the life of one of the most remarkable men to advance our knowledge of nature.

Alex

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Eulogy for Ermey and Earle

Last week we lost two legends from different worlds, but each helped shape young men and provided the rest of us with entertainment. R. Lee Ermey was a Marine drill instructor turned actor who was most famous for playing drill instructors. Earle Bruce was college football coach who made his mark at his alma mater and was inducted into the sport’s Hall of Fame.

Ronald Lee Ermey was born in Emporia, Kansas on March, 24, 1944.  A bit of a troublemaker as a child, Ermey was arrested at 17 and offered the choice to join the military or join the jail. He opted for the Marines and found his footing, eventually becoming a drill instructor. He served in Vietnam for 14 months before being medically discharged for injuries he received during that time.

Ermey began his movie career as an advisor on Apocalypse Now, but Coppola appreciated his expertise to be front of the camera too, and put him in a helicopter as a pilot (Ermey originally worked with aviation in the Marine Corps). His breakout role was as Gunnery Sargeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket, still his most famous role, and one that established Ermey as the epitome of drill instructor in any media. This was not Ermey’s first time playing a DI, as his first significant role in The Boys in Company C.

Ermey would go on to play numerous military men in all facets of entertainment, including cartoons and games, but he occasionally stepped outside of his frequent typecasting, such as in one of my favorite roles of his as Coach Norton in Saving Silverman. His advice in that movie may not be the best to follow, but damn it, it’s funny.

Ermey also starred on television, with a pair of shows on the History Channel back when it was good, Mail Call and Lock n’ Load. Enjoy this compilation of some of his greatest (and goofiest) moments as well as his immortal role as essentially himself:


Earle Bruce was born in Cumberland, Maryland on March 8, 1931. He attended The Ohio State University and looked to play fullback for the Buckeyes. However, just as he was preparing to suit up in 1951, a torn meniscus brought an abrupt end to playing days. Instead of letting Bruce leave the game he loved, the Buckeyes’ first year head coach, a man named Wayne Woodrow Hayes, asked Bruce to stay on the team as a coaching assistant. Woody Hayes went on to become the most legendary coach in Ohio State history and one of the most legendary in football history. After his frustrated punch at an opposing player forced the school to terminate him in 1978. It was apparent that following Hayes would be an enormous task, but who better to rise to the occasion than then-Iowa State coach, Earle Bruce. Bruce was ready to helm the Buckeyes after success with the Cyclones, and the University of Tampa, as well as a magnificent stint at Massillon High School where Bruce remains the only undefeated head football coach – at the school Paul Brown made a power! Paul Brown!

As head coach of his former team, Bruce posted a terrific 81-26-1 record and won four Big Ten Championships. Most importantly, he was 5-4-1 against Bo Schembechler’s Michigan Wolverines, an even better record than his predecessor and mentor, Woody Hayes. Famously, or more accurately infamously, Bruce’s 1987 Buckeyes team faltered compared to his others which all won at fewest nine games. Nevertheless, in the 1987, the Buckeyes’ star receiver and future NFL Hall of Famer Cris Carter was kicked off the team due to improperly signing with an agent . The loss of this all star was felt severely and Ohio State went into the final week of the season against rival Michigan with a measly 4-4-1 record. Out of character for a successful coach after one lackluster season, the board pressured Ohio State’s athletic director, Rick Bay, to fire Bruce. Bruce was never truly loved by some of the top dogs on campus, but in a place where Woody Hayes was God, no one, not even the university president, got to make a move on the football team with out Woody’s okay. Unfortunately for Bruce and Buckeye fans everywhere, Woody Hayes died in March of 1987. Without his great backer and protector, Bruce was again on the chopping block, and with the Carter scandal and a mediocre record, the people in power got there chance to push him out. Despite this, athletic director Bay resigned rather than fire Bruce, so the Buckeyes lost the biggest names in their sports programs in succession the week of the Ohio State-Michigan game.

Earle Bruce may have been down and almost out, but he had coached under Woody, and had made his own name as his successful successor, so he had one more game in him as the OSU coach. He was permitted to stay to finish the season, and finish he did, leading the Buckeyes into Ann Arbor to post a second half surge and beat Bo’s Wolverines one more time, 23-20. Each player on Ohio State’s sideline wore headbands that read “Earle” to honor their coach, whom they loved.

Bruce served as a mentor to many of the best players in his day, as well as to many of the top coaches of current football, including Nick Saban, Mark Dantonio, and Pete Carroll. Current Ohio State coach Urban Meyer first served as a graduate coach on Bruce’s Buckeye staff and cites him as the biggest influence in his life besides his own father. Meyer remained close to Bruce until his death from Alzheimer’s last Friday.

Earle Bruce was beloved by many, and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2003, yet he received a greater honor in 2016 when he joined the elite short list of people who have been invited to dot the “I” in the Ohio State Marching Band’s famous Script Ohio.

Thanks for reading and watching! Feel free to send me any comments, queries, or suggestions at monotrememadness@gmail.com. Be sure to return here next week for the State of the Season.

Until next week,

Alex

“We Don’t Actually Want Less Guns in Schools; We Want Fewer Guns in Schools”

After yet another school shooting, young and older citizens in the United States are hoping for an end to the senseless cycle of violence that is becoming more frequent. I have heard many articulate pleas for greater gun control from many people, chiefly the actual students who endured this most recent tragedy.  Their urge to those in political power to use their authority to instill real and productive change is inspiring.

One group who has been listening to these impassioned teenagers is the team at my favorite late night show, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Over the past two weeks since the show returned from hiatus, Oliver and his crew have made a few observations on the response to the latest school shooting.

However, this topic and its obvious solution is nothing new to Oliver, who was at the center of one of the greatest recurring pieces The Daily Show with Jon Stewart ever put together when he was a correspondent on that show. Take a gander yourself to see how the same stupid argument to “protect gun rights” perpetuates the lack of protection for people:

If hearing a British man explain how Australia did it right and America is doing nothing despite that proof that things worked for Australia is exhausting, then take a quick listen to an Australian who recognizes the same flaws:

Thanks for reading and watching. Please come back next week when I can hopefully talk about Black Panther, or something.

Alex

I Must Respectfully Rant

Can we collectively take a knee for women everywhere? I don’t mean as a gesture of marriage proposal, but as a symbolic gesture of support akin to the National Anthem kneeling that has so many people riled up. There have been a few times that I have aimed to discuss that very topic and the debate over it, but while it is simple in premise and execution, in the current United States’ politically-polarized climate, I feel it is a contentious issue with some valid arguments to be made from both sides. Perhaps I will tackle it (teehee) in a future post – and I will say that legally it is not breaking any laws and is protected under the first amendment, and personally, I don’t have a problem with it, and were I skilled enough to be a professional football player, then I would be kneeling with Colin Kaepernick and the rest – but I will hold off on getting further in depth on that debate once more because evidently there is some misunderstanding that needs clarification first. To all my fellow males, both in positions of political and professional authority and out in the rest of the world: it is not okay to make undesired, non-consented advances toward women, nor is it all right to touch women anywhere unless they allow it. Got it? Are you sure? Because lately it seems that far too many of us really don’t comprehend this. And that is a serious problem.

They are different issues to be sure, but similar to the problem with police over-aggressiveness toward minorities, this is not simply a problem with “a few bad apples”. The worst offenders are a small percent of the total population, but there is a greater systematic fault in the manner of the population’s thinking. Too many of us do not understand the boundaries of what is appropriate and what is unacceptable. How can you know when you are about to cross the line if you do not know where the line is?

We can recognize that this problem exists and spans across our society, but how do we repair it? As with all problems, we start to solve it by taking what we know and using it to instruct us in learning more. In this case, we understand now (for the most part) how to properly treat each other, especially in regards to men interacting with women, so we apply that knowledge to the next generation. As Crosby, Stills, & Nash sang, teach your children well. If we can properly educate our children, the future will be better (that applies to soooo much more than this too). However, while this helps things get better down the line, how do we manage to make things better now?

Our current culture evidently has not made it explicitly clear to all as to what proper behavior is, so how do we correct the conduct that is improper within this era? I confess, I don’t really know how to do this. This is not my field of expertise to be sure, yet even I can see that there is no clear cut answer to rectify the wrongdoings of so many men from so many walks of life. Lately, the news has highlighted the exploits of a few notable politicians and celebrities who have made unwelcome advances toward women, but these are not the only men who have committed such heinous acts. It is also true that it is not limited to men, and while I do not wish to gloss over the number of women who sexually pressure men, like the issue of National Anthem kneeling, I do not want to distract from the main issue at hand. Furthermore, any shout of “women do it too; don’t forget that!” is not an argument as much of a diversion. Women have endured mistreatment from men throughout human history, and despite things being much better in the modern world compared to the past, there are still many inherent disadvantages presented to them that prevents equal treatment from their male peers. I fear that we as a society will not truly accept women as equal to men until we make changes that mark women as equal to men, like equal pay. Such an established level of official equality would force old-fashioned, wrongful thinking regarding females in the United States to update or fucking deal with it.

At least that’s the hope. Because whether you like it or not, the United States holds these truths to be self-evident, that all men and women are created equal. Women should have the same opportunities to succeed in life as men do, and they should not have to be humiliated or endure inappropriate behavior to achieve this. That part, at least, is just that simple.

Thanks for reading. Hit me up with any questions, comments, or suggestions at monotrememadness@gmail.com, and be sure to swing back here next week, and treat your fellow man and woman with the utmost of respect.

Yours most respectfully,

Alex

O-H-I-O! Rip His ****ing Head Off!

We are a mere five days away from the most important football game of the season. If you are a college football fan, this rings true for you no matter whom you support (although some teams do play earlier than Saturday). This is Rivalry Week, and there is no shortage of signature matchups with big stakes for the teams involved and beyond. To name a few, Auburn and Alabama once again face off with national title implications on the line; Clemson-South Carolina, Georgia-Georgia Tech and Florida-Florida State duke it out in cross-conference games; Northwestern-Illinois, Indiana-Purdue, Mississippi-Mississippi State, Washington-Washington State, and Oregon-Oregon State all battle for their respective states. All across the USA there are major meetings where the records are thrown out the window and the lofty goals of championships are set aside; these teams involved in rivalry games are focused only on winning the game that matters most and claiming whatever trophy and bragging rights they can earn with such a victory.

For the greatest of these games, the individual aspirations of each team are cast to the wind for a showdown at high noon this Saturday. For Ohio State and Michigan, the fiercest rivalry in the sport, the number of wins and losses do not matter. Year to year for each team, there is but one game in the entire season that matters – the remaining 11-14 are just bonuses if you win them. When Ohio State won the inaugural College Football Playoff in the 2014 season, they played some incredible games including major wins over Wisconsin, Alabama, and Oregon to round out the season that also featured critical wins like a shootout at Michigan State and a double overtime survival at Penn State. These are all awesome games for Buckeye fans, but compared to the one that took place on the fourth Saturday of November, they do not mean much. Even though the Wolverines were an uncharacteristically lackluster 5-6 coming into that game and Ohio State was a 10-1 juggernaut cruising along with their sights on the big prize they would eventually win, this was not a game either side took lightly, and despite the final score, was a game that was decided in the fourth quarter.

Such has been the case for so many of the games in the lengthy series that began in 1897. From the first competitive contests in the 1910s, through the heralded Woody versus Bo Ten Year War, and to last year’s amazing game of the year double overtime thriller, the Ohio State-Michigan series has been the most compelling rivalry series for over a century. The past two years, I have discussed the games that were celebrating their 10 year anniversary, with the fourth quarter comeback that the Buckeyes mounted in 2005, and the #1 versus #2 Game of the Century in 2006, standing front and center on this webpage. Today, I continue that trend with a look at the less outwardly thrilling but individually amazing effort put forth by Chris “Beanie” Wells in 2007.

A few days ago, Ohio State demolished their other historical rival Illinois, as has been the case for the greater part of the past few decades. The last time the Illini scored a win against the Buckeyes was in 2007, when they came to Columbus and eeked out a 28-21 win in an impressively upstart year for them. That was the first defeat the Buckeyes suffered that year, and coming in the critical eleventh game of the season, it seemed to knock the Bucks out of the National Championship running – they would go on to not only make it to that game for the second year in a row, but thanks to a smattering of chaos in the final week of the season, they made it in as #1! Aaaand that was worse for them than if they had been #2, but again, the other games don’t matter compared to the The Game. The Buckeyes went into The Game in 2007 with a 10-1 record, that “and one” still water-droplet-covered fresh. Michigan was 8-3, powering through a season bookended by dual losses. After the shocking starter where they lost to Appalachian State, followed by an annihilation from Oregon (both in Ann Arbor, Michigan), the Wolverines did not look great. Nevetheless, they were pretty good, and rattled off 8 straight wins, before falling once more to the other Big Ten weasels , the Wisconsin Badgers at always tough to play Camp Randall Stadium. In spite of all this, entering the game against Ohio State, Michigan hardly looked like the lesser team, and the matchup appeared to be fairly even.

And so it was. The game itself was classic Midwestern sports, with weather dictating the flow for all four quarters. Thanks to playing to his team’s strengths, Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel got the better of Michigan man Lloyd Carr for the final time before the great head coach retired. Chiefly, the team’s strength in lead running back Chris Wells. “Beanie” beat up the Wolverines on their soggy home turf by churning up 222 rushing yards in a rain-soaked contest that, like all football games, was truly determined by the battle between the offensive and defensive lines. The Buckeyes bested the blue weasels by keeping stars like Chad Henne and Mike Hart in check (along with the winds and water), holding Michigan to a field goal and grinding down the clock when the Ohio State offense had the ball. Some Tressel-typical tricky formations helped confuse Michigan’s defense and set up Chris Wells’ first touchdown of the day to send Ohio State to halftime with a 7-3 lead.

Shortly after halftime, Michigan was forced to punt once again, and the Buckeyes took the ball back all the way for the score… because of help from a block in the back penalty (the first of the game on Ohio State). Fortunately, Beanie was glad to be back from the half and didn’t make us wait too long to get the score anyway. Check it out here.

Such was The Game for 2007, Tressel topped the Wolverines for the sixth time (he would add three more wins in as many contests with the team up North) thanks very much to his inventive schemes, strong players, and of course, Beanie Wells. the Buckeyes seemed bound for Pasadena to face off against a Pac-10 team in their first Rose Bowl in 11 years, but the aforementioned chaos sent them back to the BCS Championship.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoy Rivalry Week even though only half of us football fans actually will. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, send them along to monotrememadness@gmail.com.

I also want to add well wishes for the family of Terry Glenn who died in a car crash early this morning. He was a former NFL Pro-Bowler who played wide receiver for the New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers, and Dallas Cowboys, and The Ohio State University Buckeyes before that. A Columbus, Ohio native, Glenn had some shining moments in his professional career, but he led a frequently troubled life. Hopefully he is at peace now and his family and friends can find some.

Go Buckeyes!

Alex

We Got Him!

Media is tricky these days. It’s difficult to work out what is going on through the surge of sensationalism that dominates the news outlets we rely on for information. Even our most trusted sources can get swept up in screaming out something that they know will get heads turned towards them, even if that is not necessarily the something they should be shouting about, or if what they are shouting about it misses the mark of what they should be shouting about. Too vague? Certainly, but let’s look at a specific subject that he media has been obsessed with for the past few years: Donald Trump. Trump has always been in a good position of prominence and authority thanks to his family’s business prospering before he got into it. However, in the last two years, he has skyrocketed into the global public eye, which is understandable for a President of the United States, but he manages to capture headlines with everything he does  and everywhere he goes at every minute of the day. His mastery of the bullshit arts and utilization of the social media vehicle that is Twitter allowed him to dominate the coverage leading up to the last presidential election, and definitely played a part in helping him to get elected to that position. Now with a bigger soapbox than he’s ever had to shout from, the media struggle to keep up with all that old Donnie can blather out. Few have managed to consistently cover his crap and actually express how it is legitimately crap, and they have something in common: they’re comedic journalists who have all worked on The Daily Show. From current host, Trevor Noah, to former host Jon Stewart, to former correspondents and current hosts of therir own shows, Samantha Bee, Stephen Colbert, and most of all, John Oliver, the Daily Show gang has nailed nailing down Trump’s insanity where traditional news outlets have failed. Those with a show of their own routinely rail into the toupee-touting toddler (prove me wrong Donald, I dare you!), as do other comedy hosts, such as Jimmy Kimmel and Conan O’Brien. However, nobody dishes out the “DAMN!”s like John Oliver and his crew on HBO’s Last Week Tonight. Certainly, having what Oliver once referred to as “dragon money” on his former constituent Stephen Colbert’s Late Show helps, but beyond the blatant overspending that Last Week Tonight  likes to show off (in line with the “if you’ve got it, flaunt it” philosophy) their entire staff has excelled at delivering quality current and investigative newspieces over their four seasons, and tackling Trump has been their forte, and nabbed them another Emmy in the same category Jon Stewart’s Daily Show used to dominate.

It’s a shame that last night was Last Week Tonight‘s last show until next season starts in February, Thankfully, Oliver and Co. went out with a bang, breaking down the dynamics of what makes Trump strangely successful, and why it is bad, as well as leaving us with one hell of a post credits callback clip. Enjoy it for yourself:

We may be stuck with a dipshit of an executive leader, but at least we have John Oliver to carry us through the remaining 3-7 years of it. If you need to catch up or get your dose of Oliver while you wait for next season, then visit the show’s YouTube page here for the featured clips of most of their episodes.

Thanks for reading and watching! Swing back next week for more something or other!

XOXO,

Alex

Don’t Do Me Like That

Tom Petty has lived up to his band’s name in the manner of his health situation and its impact on his many fans. The legendary rock and roller was hospitalized today after suffering cardiac arrest. The founder and frontman of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Petty is a wonderfully weird personality. With elements of Bowie and Zappa blended with Southern Charm and American energy, Tom has offered his own quirky humor and powerful guitar to the world of music, becoming one of the most beloved acts in rock and roll for the last 40 years.

While he is not in a good place right now, Tom Petty has not officially been declared dead by any reputable source. I was distraught after hearing about his heart attack, and later death… until I double-checked on the early reports and found that they done goofed! Read this article in the Washington Post that highlights how even in today’s information age, one reported jump to conclusion can set off a chain reaction of attempts to get the next bombshell dropped that overtake the pursuit of the truth. It feels like a modern version of false death reporting like what happened quite famously to Mark Twain.

The roughest part about all this is that while Petty is still alive, he may not return to full strength. Rather than fearfully dwell on what may occur, let’s wish for the best to come and reflect on the best that has.

Tom Petty was my white whale as far as concerts were concerned. Many of my college friends are happily obsessed with him and his Heartbreakers – my friend Mike saw him six times, or was it seven? The first time for him and our other pals to partake in Petty’s presence was after our freshman year of undergrad. I had to skip the trip to go to the show because I was taking summer classes, and missing a chemistry lab is much rougher than one lecture. Either way, I wish I had been less responsible and had skipped. I did get another chance a couple years later when Mike and his cousin traveled into their homestate of New York to see him upstate. This time, family responsibilities prevented me from making it. When my friends said that Petty was making a stop in Cleveland on his Heartbreakers 40th anniversary tour my curiosity was again piqued. Then I saw that Joe Walsh was the opening act. In a classic “You had my curiosity, but now you have my attention” moment. This summer I finally saw him, with Walsh and all, and it was worth it. The highlight of the experience was to take my younger sister to her first concert ever. A concert put on by her favorite artist, no less. Years ago, I bought a CD of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ Greatest Hits… and promptly lost it to my little sis. She played it on repeat so often that you could clearly see the tracks she preferred the most. Most starkly shining on the underside of disc was the middle track, her all-time favorite song, “I Won’t Back Down”.

This has now become a rallying cry urging the health rebound all of Tom’s fans are wishing for. Here’s hoping that he can make it happen; if anyone can, it’s this wacky sonofabitch. He may be a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, but his greatest honor is the admiration of the millions of fans like my sister whose lives have been brightened by his music.

Thanks for reading. Send any questions, comments, or suggestions to monotrememadness@gmail.com, and be sure to fly on back here next week, for hopefully some pleasant news.

Alex