Let it be known that not only are the nurses at Mease Countryside Hospital fantastic caregivers, they're talented artistes, as well. This week, the lovely Doris and Shawna turned their keen eye to my column picture, bestowing upon me the devilish facial hair of which I've always dreamed. They were inspired by my take on the latest Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees, which include Bon Jovi. I said the hairy-chested poets behind Livin' on a Prayer wouldn't get in; Doris Nightingale and her pal — both charmers, don't get me wrong — said I give journalism a bad name. So I called to assure the saints I'm a swell guy; they in turn assured me if I'm ever at Mease Countryside, pleeeaaase request their floor: "We'll take REALLY good care of you." I don't doubt that for a second — I also don't doubt that I'd leave with a Slippery When Wet tattoo on my forehead. Whenever I take a shot at Bon Jovi, I always get hate mail, and it's almost always from nurses. I'm sensing this is an unhealthy trend. So here's a playlist for the tireless medical marvels who make us feel better — or at least give us a cool satanic beard. Keep up the good work, Shawna and Doris.
1. Lay Your Hands on Me, Bon Jovi
2. Help Me Make It Through the Night, Kris Kristofferson
3. Getting Better, the Beatles
4. Bad Case of Loving You, Robert Palmer
5. Take Good Care of My Heart, Whitney Houston
6. Hurts So Good, John Mellencamp
7. How to Save a Life, the Fray
8. Someone to Watch Over Me, Ella Fitzgerald
9. Music for a Nurse, Oceansize
10. Bad Medicine, Bon Jovi
Bring on the hate mail!
It wasn't just surly Bon Jovi fans who took issue with my handicapping of the latest crop of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees. When inductees are announced in December, Neil Diamond and Tom Waits will get in, I wrote; Alice Cooper should be left out. The Beastie Boys would be the hip-hop choice over LL Cool J. I poked tender fun at Rush, the Canadian prog gods who were once again snubbed for a nom. And yes, I said it didn't look good for Bon Jovi.
And then — yikes. The floodgates opened, and I was bombarded by raging rebuttals via e-mail, blog, Facebook. People wonder why I love angry mail, even those missives that call me a "prat" and a "moron." I wouldn't be much of a critic if I couldn't take criticism in return. But I also love the gadzooks passion people have for music, for the artists they've chosen to define themselves. Anyway, here are a few bites from the best letters:
"You called Alice a 'metallic novelty act'? Welcome to YOUR nightmare, dude!"
"I read your article and had to lol. As a lifelong Rush fan, I could care less if they are recognized by the hall of shame. Most of the nominees on the list this year haven't been relevant for decades, and I will lay awake at night awaiting those killer 'rock' classics by Neil Diamond and Tom Waits!"
"I sincerely hope you're joking about Neil being a 'lock' and calling Bon Jovi 'lightweight.' I don't know what music you're listening to, but when did Neil Diamond EVER do rock & roll?"
"How in the world can you say Bon Jovi is a 'lightweight'? . . . This is the most slanted opinion, and frankly your opinion is just that, paper liner for bird cages."
"Without Alice Cooper, there would be NO Kiss, you moron . . . Who do you think broke the ground for rock 'n' roll theatrics, for Marilyn Manson, Kiss, Rob Zombie, Slipknot, Madonna? Don't knock an original, you prat, do your homework, like most journalists do, before passing judgment on something you are surely not clued up about . . . before sounding like an uneducated jerk."