Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Carrie Underwood -- "Before He Cheats" (2006)

Right now, she's probably saying "I'm drunk"
And he's thinking that he's gonna get lucky

("Probably"?  Ha!  Ain't no "probably" about it, Miz Underwood.  To borrow a word coined by a very dear friend, he is abso-frickin'-lutely thinking he's gonna get lucky.)

This is the second 2 or 3 lines in a row that features a country song.  But don't worry, gentle readers -- country music isn't going to become the predominant genre here.

After writing about Toby Keith's "How Do Like Me Now?!" -- a paean to getting even with those who do you wrong -- I was reminded of this little ditty, which is equally bullish on the pleasures of revenge.

Toby Keith's character got even with a girl who blew him off in high school by becoming a big star.  His unadulterated glee when she was victimized by her cheating husband was a bit unseemly, but he had nothing to do with making her miserable -- his hands were clean.  

Compare the singer in Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats."  When she catches her boyfriend "slow dancing with a bleached-blond tramp," she gets even by going all medieval on his pickup truck.  (Note: I don't know that much about Carrie Underwood.  But based on her appearance and demeanor in the "Before He Cheats" music video, I would say that we may have a case here of the pot calling the kettle a bleached-blond tramp.)

First, the vengeful young lady keys the side of the vehicle.  Then she carves her name into his leather seats.  (Pickup trucks have leather seats?  Who knew?)  Next she takes a Louisville Slugger to his headlights.  Finally, she administers the coup de grace, slashing all four of his tires.

Speak softly, and carry a Louisville Slugger
What I'm about to say will make me sound like a whiny little you-know-what, but it needs to be said.  Why the hell is it considered acceptable for a woman to abuse a man in ways that would get a guy neutered (figuratively, and perhaps literally) if he did the same stuff to a woman?

Let's face the facts.  There's a double standard in our culture when it comes to violence and abuse inflicted on someone by a member of the opposite sex.  A man can't even think of touching (or threatening to touch) a woman in anger.  But a woman can pretty much whale away on a guy without fear of repercussions.

Former lovebirds Finley and Kitaen
Consider the reaction to baseball pitcher Chuck Finley getting beat up by his wife, "actress" Tawny Kitaen, who had previously been married to Whitesnake's lead singer, David Coverdale -- he became a laughingstock.

Kitaen was arrested for domestic abuse after repeatedly kicking Finley with her high heels in 2002.  Finley not only suffered physically, but had to put up with everyone sniggering at his inability to defend himself from a woman.  As one ESPN.com writer put it at the time,

He [will face] constant heckling for the rest of his career and the distinct possibility that despite nearly 200 career wins and more than 2000 strikeouts, he will be forever remembered as the 6-foot-6 pitcher who got beat up by the chick in the Whitesnake videos. 

By the way . . . Tawny Kitaen didn't spend a day in jail.  And when Finley filed for divorce three days after she assaulted him, she had the nerve to sue him for breach of contract.  (According to Ms. Kitaen, Finley had promised to support her for the rest of her life -- did she think that promise held even if she decided to kick the crap out of him?)

Tawny Kitaen
Can you imagine the public outcry if a male country singer recorded a song about trashing a female's vehicle after catching her doing the dirty with another guy?  He would be absolutely crucified in the media.  Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow, and the rest of the MSNBC blowhards would talk about nothing else for weeks.

But I don't recall the New York Times or Huffington Post pursing their editorial lips in disapproval of Carrie Underwood's glorification of violence and vigilantism when this song was released.  

I might as well shut up  -- I'm just wasting my breath.  There's no chance that a single female reader of this post is going to express agreement with my point of view.  

If you're a woman, tell the truth: didn't you hiss "The rotten b*stard deserved it!" sotto voce when you first heard "Before He Cheats" on the radio?  I thought so.

"Before He Cheats" was named the "Single of the Year" by the Country Music Association.  It is Carrie Underwood's biggest hit, and is the fourth-highest selling country music single of all time.  ("How Do You Like Me Now?!" was also a highly successful single.  Revenge songs are a good bet if you're a country singer looking to jumpstart your career.)

Here's the music video for "Before He Cheats":

Usually I put a link you can use to buy the featured song from Amazon at the end of my posts.  But I've got enough on my conscience without making money from the sale of "Before He Cheats."

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Toby Keith -- "How Do You Like Me Now?!" (2000)

Alarm clock starts ringing
Who could that be singing?
It's me baby, with your wake up call!

Like a lot of country songs, "How Do You Like Me Now?!" -- yes, that is the correct punctuation -- tells a story. 

It seems that the singer had a crush on a particular girl when they were in high school.  She was "always the perfect one," not to mention being the class valedictorian. He was desperate to attract her attention, but she had "too many boyfriends to mention."  (Remind you of anyone from your high school class?  Me, too.)

Toby Keith
My theory is that many -- probably most -- creative artists are driven to create by a sense of inferiority that goes back at least to high school. Maybe their fathers were disappointed in them, or their teachers and classmates viewed them as stupid.  Or maybe they had crushes on girls who were way out of their league. 

Did that make them mad?  Probably.  But they didn't just get mad, they got even!  They channeled their resentment into their art or their writing or their music.

The singer of this song doesn't seem to resent his father, or his teachers -- but he sure as hell resents that uppity little valedictorian who never paid him the attention he deserved.

So he moved to Nashville and made himself a star. (According to the song, he heard that she made fun of his delusions of grandeur when he took off, but he's probably wrong -- it's more consistent with his depiction of her that she was never even aware that he had left town to seek his fame and fortune, and couldn't have cared less if she had been.)

And the most satisfying thing about his eventually becoming a star and having a hit record is knowing that she will hear that record on the radio and realize what a good thing she missed out on when she blew him off.

Because her life has gone straight down the crapper ever since she delivered her valedictory remarks at their high school graduation.  She married for money, not for love -- and was rewarded with a cheating husband.  Her kids hear her crying every night behind the closed door of her bedroom.

The interesting thing about this song is the unadulterated glee that the singer takes in getting his revenge on the girl that he claims to have once loved.  You expect the song to end with the singer saying something to comfort her, or feeling empathy.  But he doesn't seem to feel the least bit sorry for her. To the contrary: he's absolutely delighted by her misery.

Toby Keith's alma mater
I don't know if the song is based on Toby Keith's real-life experiences back at Moore (Oklahoma) High School. I'm guessing it is.

If I'm right, Keith obviously took the the advice of best-selling mystery writer, Mary Higgins Clark, who once said, "When someone is mean to me, I just make them a victim in my next book."

A lot of people swear by revenge. Muhammad Ali once said, "I'm no cheek turner.  You kill my dog, you better hide your cat."

Sir Walter Scott
Others advise against seeking revenge not so much because they believe in loving their enemies, but because they know how the desire for vengeance can poison the human heart.  Sir Walter Scott defined revenge as "the sweetest morsel to the mouth that was ever cooked in hell" -- it is tempting to indulge in it, but ultimately it never satisfies.

The singer of "How Do You Like Me Now?!" eats a big ol' heapin' helpin' of revenge, and then says, "Please, sir -- may I have some more?" That repast may seem to hit the spot going down, but it will likely leave the diner feeling queasy.

"How Do You Like Me Now?!" is perhaps the biggest hit Keith ever had -- and he's had a lot of hits. It stayed at #1 for five weeks, and Billboard ranked it the top country song of 2000. There must be a lot of people out there who are dying to take their revenge on someone who did 'em wrong when they were in high school.

Here's "How Do You Like Me Now?!":

Click here to buy the song from Amazon:

Friday, July 26, 2013

Beaver and the Trappers -- "Happiness Is Havin' " (1963)

Happiness is 
Goin' about a hundred and ten
Blowing your mind 
And coming back down again

I'm currently reading an absolutely fabulous book -- Domenic Priore's Riot on Sunset Strip -- which is about the mid-sixties music scene in Los Angeles.

The book hits all the famous L.A. groups -- the Beach Boys, the Byrds, the Doors, Arthur Lee and Love, the Mamas and the Papas, the Turtles, etc.  But the real attraction of it for me is that it also touches on  hundreds of one-hit wonders and garage bands from Southern California that I know little or nothing about.  I could easily spend the next year featuring songs I've learned about from this book and nothing else.

Click here to order the book from Amazon:

I'm off on vacation tomorrow (although this post won't appear until just after my return), and I don't have a lot of time to devote to 2 or 3 lines tonight.  But I couldn't resist introducing you to Beaver and the Trappers before I left.

Page 128 of Riot on Sunset Strip discusses the relationship between the Beach Boys and a group called Redwood (which later became Three Dog Night), Gary Lewis & the Playboys, the Electric Prunes ("I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night"), a group called The Leathercoated Minds that featured Leon Russell and J. J. Cale, a single by The Second Helping (featuring a "scowling, jackhammer vocal" by . . . would you believe, Kenny Loggins?), and an album recorded in 1966 by Mae West and a group called Somebody's Chyldren.  (That's just one page, boys and girls.)

Page 128 also includes a story about a performer whose appearance surprised the audience during an open-mic night at the Wild Thing, a club that was located just a couple of blocks from the corner of Hollywood and Vine:

Suddenly, out of nowhere, Jerry Mathers, the kid from Leave It To Beaver, appeared on stage and started performing garage-punk songs.  This wasn't an entirely isolated incident, as Beaver & The Trappers then cut a single, "In Misery," for the White Cliffs label.  On the B-side, "Happiness Is Havin'," Mathers sounds like a virtual guru, declaring: "Happiness is goin' about a hundred and ten/Blowing your mind and coming back down again."

A pensive Beaver Cleaver
According to a Leave It To Beaver fan website, Jerry Mathers formed Beaver and the Trappers in 1966, about the time he graduated from high school.  Jerry played guitar and sang; the drummer was Rich Correll, who appeared on the TV show as "Richard Rickover," one of Beaver's pals.

Rich Correll in high school
Correll had much more success as a director than as an actor -- or as a rock drummer.  He's directed dozens of TV sitcoms over the past 25 years -- including Full House, Married . . . with Children, Family Matters, and Hannah Montana.

Rich Correll, director
Mathers claimed that "Happiness Is Havin' " went to number one in both Hawaii and Alaska.  After extensive research, I was unable to verify that claim.  I can tell you that Beaver and the Trappers never made the Billboard charts. 

"Leave It To Beaver" was the inspiration for a number of records.  

For example, there's "You've Lost That Beaver Cleaver," by the Birch Creek Brothers -- a parody of "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling."

Jerry Mathers today
Angel and the Reruns released "Beaver Cleaver Fever."  (The other side of that 45 was a song about Buffy from "Family Affair.")

In 1981, a garage-punk band named The Hugh Beaumont Experience from Ft. Worth, Texas, recorded an eponymous EP.

And then there's the immortal "Something's Wrong With the Beaver," a song bemoaning Beaver's premature death by Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys.  (I've owned this record since I was in law school.)  

She climbed the stairs that mornin'
Found him rather pale . . .
She cried down to the breakfast nook,
"Ward, there's something wrong!"

Something's wrong with the Beaver
The Beaver, I believe-uh, is gone!

Kinky Friedman
That's about all yours truly has time for tonight: vacation beckons!  I have no idea what song the next 2 or 3 lines will feature . . . but I trust that when I get to Cape Cod, there will be a muse or two there to inspire me.

(Note: When a writer starts referring to his "muse," he either has or is about to jump the shark.)

Here's "Happiness Is Havin'":

Click here to buy P. J. O'Connell's cover of "Happiness is Havin'":

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Bon Jovi -- "Wanted Dead or Alive" (1986)

I'm a cowboy
On a steel horse I ride

Jon Bon Jovi is so full of crap that it's a 100% lock that his eyes are brown.

In this song, he would have you believe that he's just a humble rock-and-roll journeyman, slogging from town to town in hopes of eking out enough money to keep body and soul together and put gas in the tour bus.  He's sleep-deprived and lonely, but it's all worth it:

I been everywhere, and I'm standing tall
I've seen a million faces and I've rocked 'em all!

If you watch the official music video for "Wanted Dead or Alive," you can see that Jon Bon Jovi and his bandmates spend a lot more time riding big-ass chartered jets than steel horses:

I, on the other hand, spend a lot of time riding steel horses that aren't contributing to global warming by burning up a couple of tons of aviation fuel every hour.  My steel horses are powered not by fossil fuel, but rather by two magnificently sculpted (albeit somewhat hairy) thighs.

Here's one of my steel horses -- my battered, 20-year-old Mongoose "Rockadile" mountain bike:

And here's the steel (or perhaps aluminum) horse I rented when I was in Rochester, Minnesota last month:

I was in Rochester to help my parents navigate the Mayo Clinic.  On our first day there, they had eleven appointments over a nine-hour period -- we didn't even have time for lunch.  But on our second day, we were done by noon.  After lunch, I dropped them back at our hotel so they could rest up, while I went in search of a bike ride.

Rochester is not a large city -- it has a population of just over 100,000 souls -- but it has an extensive system of paved hiking-biking trails: 85+ miles.  In addition, the southern terminus of the 12.5-mile-long Douglas State Trail is in Rochester.

I began my ride at Silver Lake, a small freshwater lake just north of downtown Rochester.  The municipal electric utility uses Silver Lake for cooling its boiler water, so it never freezes -- even in the brutal Minnesota winters.  The warm water attracts a large flock of Canada geese, who hang out at Silver Lake year round:

You can rent paddleboats with supplemental electric motors at Silver Lake:

You can also rent bikes.  The selection is very limited -- especially for a strapping lad like yours truly.  I saddled up just about every bike they had, hoping to find one with a large enough frame to fit me.  I eventually found the Mongoose hybrid depicted above.  It was smaller than what I needed, but if I raised the seat well above the warning line printed on the seat post, it was acceptable. 

The Rochester trail system is unusually well-marked:

After riding west several miles on the city trails -- most of which bordered busy streets -- I finally hit the Douglas State Trail.   It occupies a section of the abandoned right-of-way of the Chicago Great Western Railway, which once linked Chicago with Minneapolis-St. Paul, Des Moines, Omaha, and Kansas City.  Minutes later, I had left the city far behind and was riding through the rich Minnesota farmland. 

The Douglas State Trail requires passes if you want to ride a real horse on it, or if you want to use it for cross-country skiing:

Horseback riders not only need a special permit to ride the trail, but also have to get off and walk over this bridge:

Fortunately for me, the People's Republic of Minnesota doesn't require a permit or charge a fee for bikers to ride on the trail.

Here's an old railway mile post that still stands (barely) adjacent to the old railroad right-of-way.  Looks like it was 136 miles to somewhere from where I was:

On my way back to Silver Lake, I rode along Cascade Creek, which flows through a residential neighborhood in Rochester:

After riding roughly 22 miles, I was ready for a quick visit to the 63 Club for another pint of Grain Belt before joining my parents for dinner -- carryout pizza at our hotel:

Jon Bon Jovi started life off in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, as John Francis Bongiovi, Jr.  He was the son of a barber and a former Playboy Bunny (both of whom had been Marines).  

Jon was a music-obsessed kid, and was playing clubs by the time he was 16.  The first song he recorded, "R2-D2, We Wish You a Merry Christmas," was released on the 1980 album, Christmas in the Stars: The Star Wars Christmas Album:  

(That was really bad, wasn't it?)

Bon Jovi was a hugely successful band, so Jon has been rolling in the dough for years.  Today, he's just another ex-bad boy rocker who has sold out and become part of the establishment.  He's campaigned and raised money for the Democrats in the last four Presidential elections, and has also attached his lips firmly to the backsides of local politicians -- especially former New Jersey governor Jon Corzine, a filthy-rich Wall Street type who was the CEO of MF Global, a financial derivatives broker that went bankrupt in 2011, sticking its customers with $1.6 billion in losses.  

Corzine really didn't need Bon Jovi's money -- he's the former CEO of Goldman Sachs, and made a cool $400 million when the firm went public.  He spent about $130 million of that on his successful 2000 Senate and 2005 gubernatorial campaigns and on his unsuccessful 2009 re-election campaign.

President Obama campaigning for Corzine
By the way, it looks like Corzine won't be criminally prosecuted even though he knew or should have known that the company was illegally using client funds in a desperate attempt to stay solvent.   The Wall Street Journal recently wondered if Corzine was given a get-out-of-jail-free card by the Justice Department because he was a major fundraiser for the campaign of President Obama, who once referred to him as "our Wall Street guy.")  

Here's "Wanted Dead or Alive."  (It's a great song, but I still say the guy is full of crap.)

Click here to buy the song from Amazon:

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Dandy Warhols -- "Minnesoter" (1997)

I could own her, the crazy loner
If I found my way to Minnesoter

This is the third post in a series about my recent visit to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, with my parents.  Click here if you'd like to read the first post in the series (which featured a song by the young rapper, Mayo).  Click here if you'd like to read the second post in the series (which featured a song by the British group, Clinic).

(Did the penny just drop?)

While driving my parents from our hotel to the Mayo Clinic, I saw this highway sign:

I wonder if Winona Ryder's father saw the same sign 42 years ago, when his wife was great with child.  You see, Winona's parents -- her real last name is Horowitz -- were living in Olmstead County (which includes Rochester) when she was born.  They named her after Winona, which is a town of some 28,000 souls located on the Mississippi River less than an hour's drive east of Rochester.

Winona Laura Horowitz had an interesting family.  She was given her middle name in honor of the wife of Aldous Huxley, who wrote the famous dystopian novel, Brave New World.  Winona's younger brother, Uri, was named for Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man to travel into outer space.  

Christian Slater and Winona Ryder in Heathers
Her father once worked as an archivist for the guru of LSD, Dr. Timothy Leary, who was Winona's godfather.  The family was also friendly with "beat" poets Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti and science-fiction novelist Philip K. Dick.  (Winona later starred in A Scanner Darkly, a movie based on the Dick novel of the same name.)

When Winona was seven years old, her family relocated to a commune in Mendocino County, California, where they lived with seven other families without electricity or television.

She read a lot -- Catcher in the Rye was her favorite book -- watched movies on a screen that her mother set up in the commune s barn, and began to take acting lessons in San Francisco when she was 12.

A very young Winona Ryder
Winona adapted the stage name of Ryder because her father was listening to Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels when her agent called to ask how she wanted to be identified in the credits of her first movie, Lucas, which was filmed when she was only 14.

Ryder has appeared in just about every kind of movie you can think of.  When I hear her name, I immediately think of oddball characters in oddball movies -- like Beetlejuice, Heathers, Edward Scissorhands, and Reality Bites -- but she has also appeared in movies based on famous literary works (The Age of Innocence, Little Women, The Crucible), chick flicks (How to Make an American Quilt, Autumn in New York), and science-fiction and horror movies (Dracula, Alien Resurrection, Lost Souls).

One of Ryder's best performances came in the 1999 drama about life in a mental institution, Girl, Interrupted.  That's not surprising because it seems like like Ryder is pretty crazy in real life -- not surprising  given her rather eccentric upbringing.  

That craziness really came to the forefront in 2001, when Ryder was arrested in Beverly Hills after shoplifting $5500 worth of merchandise at a Saks Fifth Avenue store.  (Saks is an expensive store, but $5500 worth of stuff is a lot of stuff -- I'm a little surprised she could carry it all by herself.)  Ryder was also accused of possessing Valium and a couple of pain medications (oxycodone and Vicodin) without valid prescriptions.  

It's possible that Winona's erratic behavior was the result of her recent breakup with Matt Damon.  Or it might go back to her somewhat less recent breakup with Johnny Depp, who ranks just as high on the crazy scale as Winona does.  (Depp got a tattoo reading "Winona Forever" on his arm when they were dating.  After they broke up, he altered it to "Wino Forever.")

Winona Ryder didn't live in Minnesota that long, but I like to think that her years in the "Land of 10,000 Lakes" had some influence of her craziness.  

I've written before about the cheery, polite, and utterly clueless residents of Minneapolis-St. Paul.  I still remember taking a walk on a trail that went around one of the numerous small lakes in the Twin Cities on a visit there a couple of years ago.  I noticed that the locals were sunbathing on what appeared to be beaches bordering that lake, but which turned out on closer examination to be 100% unadulterated dirt.  Apparently they didn't know that beaches consist of sand, not dirt.

I saw other evidence of this cluelessness on my more recent visit.  Here's a water fountain I saw in the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport.  It is specially designed so you can fill up a water bottle.  The water fountain actually counts how many times people use it -- there's a small meter built into the upper right-hand corner of the water fountain that indicates this fountain has filled up 4090 water bottles.  

It makes a big deal about how many plastic water bottles it is keeping out of the local landfills, but I've never had much of a problem filling up a water bottle from a regular water fountain.

Here's a thought -- why not just drink directly from the water fountain until you're not thirsty?  When you get thirsty again, just get up and walk over to the water fountain for another drink.  (I've never taken a water bottle to the airport, and I don't recall it being that inconvenient to stay sufficiently hydrated.)

One more thing -- this water fountain was outside the security checkpoint.  Have you ever tried to take a filled bottle of water through airport security?  (You have?  Care to tell the class what happened when you did?)

Before flying back home at the end of my Mayo Clinic visit, I took a hike through the Minnesota River National Wildlife Refuge in Minneapolis.  I'm sorry, but it was the most unattractive outdoor area I've ever taken a hike in.  

I saw absolutely zero wildlife that morning -- except for this very tame hawk in the visitor center:

Maybe that's because the wildlife refuge is only a few minutes away from the Mall of America (the largest shopping mall in the United States) and the airport.  Planes took off over the refuge every couple of minutes -- if you look closely, you can see one in this photo, which also shows some of the many suburban office buildings and airport hotels visible from the refuge trails:

No wonder there were no birds or other wild critters around.

The entire Danish army appeared to be checking in at a Delta gate in the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport that afternoon:

(I can just hear the disappointment in the soldiers' voices when they return to dear ol' Denmark and are asked by their friends and neighbors where they went.  California?  New York?  Florida?  "No," they reply sadly. "Minnesoter.")

I saw some puzzling sights in Rochester as well.  For example, there's a 50,000-gallon water tower that was built to resemble a very large ear of corn just a block east of that Winona highway sign at the beginning of this post:

I'm not sure what use the Snappy Stop burger carryout (which feature "California-style" burgers, whatever those are) puts these critters to:

I dropped into the 63 Club to wet my whistle with good ol' Grain Belt lager a couple of times.  Apparently, dogs are just as welcome as people at this friendly establishment.

I'm not sure why there were hundreds of dollar bills with handwritten messages on the walls and ceiling of the 63 Club.  But I was glad to see that they had a strict dress code:

(It you can't read that sign, it's just as well.  It would probably offend you.)

"Minnesoter" is from the Dandy Warhols' second studio album, The Dandy Warhols Come DownAnother Dandy Warhols song was the 7th song featured on 2 or 3 lines -- we're now well over 500 songs.

Here's "Minnesoter":

Click here to buy the song from Amazon:

Friday, July 19, 2013

Clinic -- "Walking With Thee" (2002)

A million joys, a million joys here
You could set your watch
How untamed it was!

In the last 2 or 3 lines, I told you a little about the Mayo Clinic, which is a truly remarkable institution. 

While I was at Mayo's last month with my parents, I had time to take a look at the Plummer Building, which is the oldest Mayo Clinic building still in use.

Dr. Henry Plummer
The Plummer Building is named for Dr. Henry Plummer, who became a partner of the Mayo brothers in 1901, when he was only 27 years old.  Plummer created the first modern medical record system, was a pioneer in the use of X-ray diagnosis, and pushed to have sophisticated research labs at the Mayo Clinic.  He is perhaps more responsible for the development of the integrated group medical practice that the Mayo Clinic embodies than any other single individual.

Dr. Plummer oversaw the design and construction of the building that was later namer after him, which was the tallest building in the state of Minnesota when it was completed in 1926, and remained the tallest building in Rochester until 2002.

Here's a black-and-white photo showing the Plummer Building shortly after it was completed:

Here's an old postcard showing a view of downtown Rochester that is dominated by the Plummer Building.  The smaller building immediately to the left is the original Mayo Clinic building, which was demolished many years ago.  

The large white building further to the left is the Kahler Hotel, which is still operating.  I took this picture of the Kahler from the 15th floor of another Mayo Clinic building:

Here's a depiction of Dr. Plummer on the exterior of the Plummer Building:

Here's another depiction of him:

Here's a shot of the top of the Plummer Building.

Here's a closer look:

Here's a closeup of one of the gargoyles:

A carillonneur performs three concerts weekly on the Plummer Building's 56-bell carillon:

The lobby of the Plummer Building is so richly detailed that it almost overwhelms the eye:

The bronze elevator doors have panels depicting Greek gods and goddesses.  Here's Demeter, the goddess of the harvest:

Here's Hermes with a microscope:

Here's a photo of the lobby ceiling:

Here's a door handle.  (Virtually every part of the Plummer Building -- no matter how small or insignificant -- is a thing of beauty.)

Clinic is a group from Liverpool that released its first record in 1999.  I had never heard of Clinic before I discovered them when I looking for music that I could feature in a series of posts about the Mayo Clinic.

To say that Clinic is a little off-center would be an understatement.  The group routinely performs wearing surgical masks: 

Clinic once toured with Radiohead, and some people compare their music to Radiohead's.  That's not a ridiculous comparison, but Clinic's music isn't really like anyone else's.  The group relies heavily on unusual chord progressions and vintage electronic keyboards.

If Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek of the Doors had been born 40 years later, the Doors might have sounded something like Clinic.  Or maybe not.

Here's the title track from Clinic's 2002 album, Walking With Thee:

That's a fabulous song, n'est-ce pas?  Here's the group performing it live on Late Show with David Letterman:

Click here to buy the song from Amazon: