Turn and face the strange jam

The 2016 Jam queue already is filling up, but we’re going to start with this one:

David Bowie was featured in the third-ever Friday Jam post on this site, and here he is now. Nobody turned around the end of a line with such elegance as Bowie, so as we all attempt to plow through life’s commas, I suspect we’ll all recognize that, even if time changes us, we’ll always trace time, at least in part, by reference to Bowie.

Thanks for letting us rock and roll with you, Starman.

Detroit Lions Morning-After Jam

gunther-cunningham-drop-kick-o

The overhead view is of me in a maze,
and you see what I’m hunting a few steps away.
And I take a wrong turn and I’m on the wrong path,
and the people all watching enjoy a good laugh.

Embarrassed with failure, I try to reverse
the course that my tread had already traversed.
So doing the trauma engulfing my dream
invaded through what was an unguarded seam.
The torrent of helplessness swept me away
to the cavern of shame and the hall of dismay.
Inside me a voice was repeating this phrase:
“You’ve lost it, you’ll never get out of this maze.”
You’ll never get out of this maze

Happy Thanksgiving from ALDLAND

lionsgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, ALDLAND readers. Without presuming that you need any help entertaining yourselves today, here are a few suggestions to enhance your holiday festivities:

We are thankful for everyone– over six thousand of you in 2015 alone– who stumbled by this virtual space in the past year. Have a wonderful day, and get off the dang computer!

Injury Report Jam

It was a tough week on the health front for a couple folks we keep track of here at ALDLAND. First, Phil Lesh, best known as the bass player for the Grateful Dead, announced that he has bladder cancer. Lesh previously was forced to undergo a liver transplant due to a hepatitis C infection, so word of a new, serious condition was worrisome. The good news is that Phil’s cancer is “non aggressive,” and it sounds like he plans to make a full recovery soon.

Three days later, new Detroit Tigers pitcher Daniel Norris revealed that he’d been battling thyroid cancer this season. Norris’ cancer is malignant, and he will be undergoing treatment in the offseason.

For this week’s Jam, here’s Phil doing his warbly best with the Grateful Dead, twenty years ago in Memphis:

How Marvin Gaye’s NFL tryout changed his career (via The Undefeated)

marvinlionLem Barney had just finished a round of golf at Detroit’s Palmer Park Golf Course in the summer of 1968. Palmer, one of four prominent courses in the area, attracted many of the city’s black celebrities, including Joe Louis, Smokey Robinson and The Temptations.

Barney had heard Marvin Gaye, one of his favorite artists, lived nearby. With time to kill before heading back to training camp for afternoon practice, he figured why not? Gaye sang the score to Barney’s high school and college years at Jackson State University. The second year defensive back introduced himself to Palmer’s clubhouse employees, who quickly obliged with his request for Gaye’s address.

Barney easily found Marvin’s house, less than a mile-and-a-half from the course. When the legendary Motown crooner and avid sports fan opened the door, he instantly recognized Barney, inviting him in for breakfast.

For nearly two hours, the athlete and the singer chatted like long-time friends, bonded by mutual passions: sports and music. … Read More

(Via The Undefeated)

Ready to Die: Three Days of Drugs and Disintegration with The Grateful Dead (via Vice)

gd50We’re clacking and lurching on a Red Line car to the Roosevelt stop. This is the exit for Chicago’s Soldier Field, site of “Fare Thee Well,” the last three shows for the band formerly known as The Grateful Dead. Ask me why I’m here and I can only give you elliptical answers.

On most Sundays, the Grateful Dead are my favorite rock band of all-time, but this seems destined for pure farce—a Necrophiliac spectacle where the hallucinogenic ashes of Saint Jerry spike the Fourth of July fireworks. During intermission, the field will split open and he’ll ascend in a floating mausoleum, wax mannequin covered in tie-die, exhumation costs covered by the largesse of Ben and Jerry. A Jerry hologram was planned, but couldn’t be properly brought to fake life in real time. The Jerry impersonator from Half Baked was waylaid with prior Independence Day plans. One of these is true.

Somehow, four old guys, Bruce Hornsby, and Trey from Phish sold 65 percent more tickets per show than Taylor Swift—more than every summer festival except Coachella. And there may be more floral garlands here. The Golden Road to Devotion now costs a couple mortgage payments. No free press passes either. Entrance meant that you won the lottery, sold spare appendages on the black market, or finessed the Patchouli circuit plug. Maybe you’re one of the hundreds outside with a cardboard sign that reads: “Hoping for a Miracle.” … Read More

(via Vice)

Window Shopping: Pigs in the Pen

It’s July, which means it’s time for MLB teams to sort out their trade-deadline strategy. While fans distract themselves with All-Star festivities, general managers are preparing to execute player transactions in attempts to load up for a playoff run or, in acceptance of their near-term fates as noncontenders, build for the future.

In this context, the Detroit Tigers find themselves in a bit of a bind. After a very strong start, they’ve slid back to a .500 record and have been entrenched in the middle of the AL Central, never too far out of first place, but never really within striking distance. Would a first-place finish from this position be unprecedented? Hardly. Can they claim a fifth-consecutive division title without making a significant trade this summer? Almost certainly not. The Tigers’ record is not a product of underperforming their potential; instead, it likely is a reasonably accurate reflection of this team’s collective ability to date, warts, lower-body injuries, and all.

There is no question that the Tigers should be buyers this month, however thin their wallet may be with currency in the form of desirable prospects. I can’t say with any certainty whom Detroit should acquire this month– starting pitchers Johnny Cueto and Cole Hamels are the most valuable targets on the market, but the sellers’ prices may be too rich for the blood of the Tigers’ farm system– but I do agree with the prevailing preference for bolstering the pitching rotation. Shane Greene‘s floor proved too low to allow the team to continue to wait to see how high his ceiling might go, Alfredo Simon’s regressed to the very average levels we should have expected out of him as a starter, and, with appearances in just four games in 2015, Justin Verlander’s projected resurgence isn’t happening. The return of game-calling extraordinaire Alex Avila to his precarious post behind the plate can’t fix that many holes, and neither, I suspect, can J.D. Martinez‘s unsustainable home-run rate. Detroit needs to find another starter.

The trade-deadline attention on the pitching rotation represents a shift of attention away from their bullpen, the conventionally identified leading source of all of the Tigers’ problems. Continue reading

Yes Jam

Last Sunday, Chris Squire, best known as the bass player for the band Yes, lost his battle with leukemia. Although the band underwent periods of lineup changes, you have never heard Yes without Squire, in part because of the value of his prominent playing style, and in part because of his controlling legal interest in the band’s name. As we prepare to honor the birth of a nation stateside, in memory of Squire, we take a moment to turn our ears back to England, to which we are forever tied: