Jeff O'Handley, Author

Jeff O'Handley

The Doubting Writer Finds His Voice

Sorry to see you go, Tom

I don’t remember exactly when I first heard Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. I do remember back in junior high school, having an acquaintance who was fast on the way to becoming one of my closest friends talking Petty up enthusiastically–along with other bands I had not yet heard of, like Elvis Costello, The Pretenders, and Rockpile. Shortly thereafter, I was walking around with the organ riff from “Don’t Do Me Like That” on auto-play in my head.

I was not a fan the way my friend was–is, but I certainly liked what I heard. I saw Petty for the first time at Madison Square Garden in the mid-80s, backing Bob Dylan. The Petty & the Heartbreakers segment of the show was miles above the Dylan segment. (though Petty had certain vocal stylings similar to Dylan–hello, singing through the nose–the key difference was that Petty sang so you could understand him. Dylan almost seemed to go out of his way to be incomprehensible.) I didn’t see him in concert again for more than twenty years, by which time the band was (incredibly) past thirty. And while the show never felt like some tired, “We’re in it for the money here’s a bunch of oldies for ya” thing (the band was promoting a new album at the time and played four songs from it during the set), you knew every song. And they were all good.

After forty years, Petty was apparently planning to call it quits on the major touring and was looking forward to spending more time with the family and doing…well, whatever it is rock stars do when they ‘retire’. This usually involves a quiet period followed by an unexpected album and tour. Sadly, we’ll never get to see that. Thanks for the memories and music (and those goofy appearances on It’s Garry Shandling’s Show).

In Other News…

Yes, I’m going to get political. The Trump administration continues using “religious freedom” as cover for its assault  on “others.” Last week saw the announcement of new rules allowing employers to not offer contraceptives/birth control as part of health insurance based on religious or moral objections. Never mind that this impacts some 55 million women, and will likely result in a huge uptick in unplanned pregnancies and abortions (at least until the GOP finds a way to overturn Roe v. Wade and brings us one step closer to the Christian Sharia they seem to crave). Meanwhile, last week the Department of Justice has taken the position that civil rights laws don’t apply to transgender people from discrimination at work.Now, this would be fine if  the DOJ’s position was that Congress should take action to extend that protection, but what’s the likelihood of that? And what’s the likelihood that this Congress would do such a thing? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

And, still sticking with politics–in the wake of the horror in Las Vegas this week, I have come up with a way to actually get something done on gun control: convince Trump that the second amendment was written by Obama. You’d see an instantaneous shift in the meaning of “Repeal and Replace.”

Happier News…

Louie DeBrusk was a high energy, low-skill player in the NHL whose best season saw him score eight goals for the Edmonton Oilers in 1992-93. What endeared him to fans wasn’t the 24 goals he scored in 401 games, it was his willingness to fight. DeBrusk racked up 1161 penalty minutes in his career, fighting 214 times.

Jake DeBrusk is Louie’s son. He is not his father. A highly skilled player taken in the first round of the 2015 draft, Jake made his NHL debut with Boston on Thursday night, and provides a feel-good moment in a week that desperately needed feel-good moments (stick with the video):

A priceless moment.

One last bit of hockey news for my Australian reader(s): On Saturday night, Nathan Walker became the first Australian to play in the National Hockey League–and soon thereafter he became the first Australian to score a goal in the National Hockey League! Congratulations to Nathan! [EDIT] I meant to include this, but forgot: the Australian Ambassador to the United States is…Joe Hockey. No kidding!

That’s all I got. Let’s hope this is a better week. How are you all?

6 Responses

  1. I truly believe 45's goal is to divide us further instead of pulling us together. I keep waiting for congress to do something, but I doubt they ever do. Hopefully they all get voted out on their next election.

    As for Tom… I'm sure I know his music, I just couldn't name you any of his songs. Just one of those bands that I didn't go out buying the Albums/CDs.

  2. It was quite a sad week, I woke up to the news about Las Vagas on my first day back at work after taking a bit of annual leave. Please do whatever it takes to convince Trump to fix that very old amendment.

    Currently, we're having a marriage equality postal survey in Australia, and the no campaign decided to hire someone to write 'No' in the sky above Melbourne several times yesterday (a stunt they pulled in Sydney a couple of weeks back) so this week doesn't feel a whole lot better. Many of my queer friends are really hurting due to the ongoing espousal of bigotry they've been subjugated to these last few months.

    Excuse my French, but for fuck sake Trump. Really? Now employers can take contraception away from their employees on religious grounds. What a load of rubbish. *angry face* and don't get me started on trans* rights right now, I had a v big argument with a friend about pronouns and it didn't end happy.

    Fingers crossed that this week shakes up a lot better by the end!

  3. Stacy–what is sad is that pulling us apart deepens his hold on a pretty large segment of our population. Congress will do nothing because of that significant portion of the population (but also because I'm not sure there's real, legal reason to remove him from office–yet) and because the GOP still thinks he's the best bet to pass their fiscally and socially conservative agenda. President Pence would probably be much more to their liking, which is kind of scary. As for Tom, I think you probably know more of his music than you think you do!
    -Nick: as I said to Stacy, I suspect you know more of his songs than you think you do, though I don't know how much airplay he gets "across the pond."
    -Bonnee–as I formulate a response to your comment in my head, I feel a new post coming on. In short: Second Amendment: very powerful lobby that says nothing but "no." Because telling Americans they can't own assault rifles and unlimited ammunition is just the first step in taking away all the guns. Marriage equality: I don't have many LGBTQ friends (that I know of), but I think we can't understand the impact all this "debate" has on them. It must suck to have a large, vocal part of the population telling you, in essence, "you don't count." Third: speaking of "you don't count," Trump rules are either telling women "you don't count" or they're telling America "Religion uber alles." I will be curious to see what happens, however, when it's a Muslim-owned business refusing to provide service to a Christian couple based on religious grounds. We'll see how fast the Department of Justice jumps on that one.

    Thanks for commenting, everyone.

  4. Donna: Petty's not exactly my age, but I've been seeing a lot more people in my demographic dropping and I don't like it.

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