“A hospital bed is a parked taxi with the meter running.” – Groucho Marx.
I’m not a fan of Halls of Fame. They may start out with good intentions, but they always end up watering themselves down by inducting too many above-average-but-not-great performers [see Major League Baseball Hall of Fame – Dave Winfield division, also known as the Mr. May wing].
Of course, some Halls of Fame should never have been. Here I’m talking about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Always thought that was a stupid idea from the get-go. At its best, rock ‘n’ roll should be an anti-establishment, rebellious expression of art. There’s no place in my Rock and Roll for tuxedo-wearing, sober, humble performers thanking their managers and record companies and agents all those people who don’t have a damn thing to do with good music.
And then there were the choices. Just look at the most recent class. ABBA? What the hell does ABBA’s music, if you can call it that, have to do with rock ‘n’ roll? Genesis? A more bland group I cannot imagine. The Hollies? Sappy, and just not good enough. The Stooges. Really? I like Iggy Pop OK, but is he really Hall of Fame material? Jimmy Cliff I like but I don’t really see him in a R’n’R Hall, either.
But the real gripe is the Hall is just another rock ‘n’ roll sellout, like the Who, which sung “Hope I Die Before I Get Old.” Only one member managed it, of course, but they continued making money off their legacy. Or the Stones, who criticized adds telling how white their shirts could be and cigarette brands but then managed to let “Start Me Up” be appropriated by Microsoft for a stupid commercial. And I love The Who and the Stones. There’s just no need for a R’n’R Hall, and it damn sure shouldn’t be in Cleveland.
As far as I’m concerned, there are only two decent Halls of Fame, and I’m getting a little shaky about one of them. The Pro Football Hall always has been the most exclusive of the sports museums. But a couple of years ago, it added Art Monk, who had been the subject of a heavy lobbying campaign by all the damn Redskins fans and writers, who pretty much are fans, too. Who’s next? Billy Kilmer? Gus Frerrotte?
That leaves only one HOF that I really like, and as it turns out, I’m a member. We’re talking here about the Daily News Hall of Fame, made up of former employees at the newspaper in Jacksonville. The curator/membership committee/Grand Poobah is my friend Robert Holland, who still works there. What did I do to win election to the hall? Not telling. Some of the details can’t be revealed until after my death and those of my fellow perpetrators – I mean participants. (Or maybe they’ll be the subject of a blog another day.)
But I will mention some qualifications of one inductee, whom I’ll call Tim Tate. Tim covered the military for us and later worked some for Soldier of Fortune magazine and a bureau or two in Washington and elsewhere. He had a gas mask and an AK-47 and dated a woman who worked for awhile at one of J-ville’s massage parlors. Again, many of Tim’s escapades can’t yet be revealed.
Then there was my friend Paul Schmidt. Paul was a sports reporter who lived hard and died young when he choked in a restaurant. I’d have never managed my first move to Charlotte without him.
There was my friend Jackie, who liked to perform “Paradise By the Dashboard Light” at a local pool hall. (She now works for an addiction-treatment nonprofit in Florida.)
The point is, membership is very exclusive and must be earned. No half-assed, mediocre inductees for this outfit.
Groucho once said, “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.”
I believe in that, too. I’m not much of a joiner. But I’m a proud member of The Daily News HOF.
“I have a mind to join a club and beat you over the head with it.” – Groucho Marx