American Pie redux: Grand Rapids Lip Dub Edition

Grand Rapids Lip Dub – Rosa Parks Circle, photo by Gary Syrba

Tina Jones couldn’t believe I didn’t share the groundbreaking Grand Rapids Lip Dub of American Pie yesterday and neither could I! It was filmed in May of 2011 for Experience Grand Rapids by Scott Erickson Films and produced & directed by Rob Bliss. The YouTube page thanks a bunch of people involved and dedicates it to the late Roger Ebert, who loved movies and even named the GR LipDub “The Greatest Music Video Ever Made.” Rob (who is the musician on stage in the photo above) writes:

The Grand Rapids LipDub Video was filmed May 22nd, 2011 with 5,000 people, and involved a major shutdown of downtown Grand Rapids, which was filled with marching bands, parades, weddings, motorcades, bridges on fire, and helicopter take offs. It is the largest and longest LipDub video, to date.

This video was created as an official response to the Newsweek article calling Grand Rapids a “dying city.” We disagreed strongly, and wanted to create a video that encompasses the passion and energy we all feel is growing exponentially, in this great city. We felt Don McLean’s “American Pie,” a song about death, was in the end, triumphant and filled to the brim with life and hope.

 

If you know Grand Rapids and the people who were making it vibrant in 2011 – many who continue today – you’ll definitely see some friends. In any case – what fun!!

View the photo bigger and see more in Gary’s In the City (Grand Rapids) slideshow.

On the 8s

figure eights, photo by Terry Johnston

In the event that there aren’t enough 8s for you on this August 8th, here’s a whole bunch more from the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in Grand Rapids.

View the photo bigger and see more in Terry’s UICA slideshow.

The River Grand

The River Grand, photo by John Rothwell

Wikipedia’s entry on the Grand River says in part:

The Grand River is the longest river in the U.S. state of Michigan. It runs 252 miles (406 km) through the cities of Jackson, Eaton Rapids, Lansing, Grand Ledge, Portland, Ionia, Lowell, Grand Rapids, and Grand Haven. Native Americans who lived along the river before the arrival of the French and British called the river O-wash-ta-nong, meaning Far-away-water, because of its length.

As the glacial ice receded from what is the central Lower Peninsula of Michigan around 11,000 years ago, the Maple River and lower Grand River served as a drainage channel for the meltwater. The channel ran east to west, emptying into proglacial Lake Chicago, the ancestor of Lake Michigan. Today the Grand River rises in Somerset Township in Hillsdale County and Liberty Township in Jackson County, and flows through Jackson, Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Ionia, Kent, and Ottawa counties before emptying into Lake Michigan. Its watershed drains an area of 5,572 square miles (14,430 km2), including 18 counties and 158 townships. Tributaries of the river include (beginning near river source and travelling downstream): Portage River, Red Cedar River, Looking Glass River, Maple River, Bellamy Creek, Flat River, Thornapple River, Rogue River, Coldbrook Creek, Plaster Creek, Bass River, and Crockery Creek.

…Grand Rapids was built on the site of a mile long rapids on the Grand River, although these have disappeared after the installation of a run-of-river dam in 1866 and five low-rise dams during a river beautification project in 1927.

View the photo background bigtacular and see more in John’s slideshow.

More Michigan rivers on Michigan in Pictures.

Even Wally Pipp didn’t get Wally Pipped!

via “Everything You Know About Wally Pipp Is Wrong” on Absolute Michigan…

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Wally Pipp’s Final Resting Spot, photo by PPWWIII

True confession: My father was a veritable baseball encyclopedia good enough for a scholarship at Yale whose love of the game kept him around baseball and me steeped in it. That said, though I learned the story of Wally Pipp at a young age, it was all wrong.

The name of Wally Pipp conjures visions of shirkers, slackers and layabouts and the stars who get a chance to shine when they take the inevitable day off. Most sports fans know the story of how on June 2, 1925 New York Yankee first baseman Wally Pipp was given the day off for a headache, and Lou Gherig played 1st for the next 2,130 consecutive games until “The Iron Horse” retired due to ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) also commonly known as “Lou Gehrig’s disease. Tom Brady “pipped” Drew Bledsoe years ago, and Dak Prescott did the same to Tony Romo last season.

I read a whole lot about this confusing tale, but the article Wally Pipp’s Career-Ending ‘Headache’ by Snopes founder David Mikkelson is quite simple a tour de force of the twists and turns in one of our biggest American sports legends that has been told and retold in print and screen. There’s a ton to read including the newspaper clippings and I recommend you do so, but let’s skip to Mikkelson’s conclusion:

After winning three straight American League pennants between 1921-23, the Yankees finished a couple of games off the pace in 1924 as the Washington Senators captured their first flag ever. New York expected to regain the top spot in 1925, but that was the year Babe Ruth’s excesses finally caught up with him.

…With Ruth either missing or too weak to play effectively, and some key players slumping … New York tumbled to a dismal seventh-place finish (in an eight-team league) in 1925. With his team already near the bottom of the standings and eleven games under the .500 mark at the beginning of June, manager Miller Huggins decided to shake up his line-up and replace some of his slumping veterans with younger players. Contemporaneous news accounts leave no doubt that Wally Pipp did not sit out the game on 2 June 1925 with a headache; he was deliberately benched by a manager who had charge of a team that was playing poorly and who opted to sit down some of his older players to give others a try.

In the case of Wally Pipp there was no inopportune headache, no “delightful and romantic story” — just a case of a slumping player who lost his job to an up-and-comer and never got it back. But his replacement was the stuff of legend (the indestructible ballplayer finally felled by a fatal disease), and so he became part of a legend that mixed fact and fiction and grew so large even some of the participants came to believe in its fictional aspects.

Via Mental FlossBleacher Report, and Wikipedia, I can report that Pipp was raised in Grand Rapids, was hit in the head with a hockey puck as a child that he attributed his headaches to, and played his first pro baseball for (seriously) the Kalamazoo Celery Champs. Pipp was one of the best first basemen of his era, hitting .281 with 90 HRs, 997 RBI and 1,941 hits. After retiring in 1928, Pipp played the market, wrote some radio scripts and books including as Babe Ruth’s ghostwriter, and did a pregame baseball show for the Detroit Tigers. He worked in a Michigan plant that made B-24 bombers during WWII and worked as a sales exec for the Rockford Screw Products Corporation. Mental floss concludes: Pipp went from playing first for the Yankees to peddling screws and bolts—and he loved it. Armed with the gift of gab and endless baseball stories, Pipp spent the rest of his life selling wares to Detroit’s auto hotshots. He passed away in 1965. (at the age of 71)

View the photo from Woodlawn Cemetery in Grand Rapids background big and see more in PPWWIII’s slideshow.

Alley Adventures, Grand Rapids Edition

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Alley Adventures, photo by Jerry James

Jerry writes Tonight’s image is brought to you by the darker side of reality. Things are not always sunsets and rainbows. Shot taken with the Olympus EM5 Mark II and the Rokinon 7.5mm fisheye in grand rapids, Michigan

View his photo bigger, view work and read his thoughts on his website, and definitely check out Jerry’s slideshow for more!

Jennie F. Clauson saw the world change

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Jennie F. Clausen, photo by Marty Hogan

View Marty’s photo background big and see more in his Michigan Burying Grounds slideshow.

The December 7th anniversary of Pearl Harbor is one of the sign posts in American history. Marty writes that in nearly a century, Jennie F. Clauson from Grand Rapids, Michigan saw a world change. Here’s the entirety of his post:

Continue reading Jennie F. Clauson saw the world change

A tragic reminder for drivers from Kalamazoo

I sincerely hope that everyone who reads today’s post remembers that three-quarters of all bicycle fatalities are caused by driver error. It’s your duty as a driver to PAY ATTENTION as you pilot a several thousand pound machine that can become a deadly weapon if you are not vigilant. I would also add that I am in no mood today to hear about the cases where cyclists violate the rules of the road. That does not happen in 3/4 of car/bike fatalities including this one…

Grand Rapids Ghost Bike

Ghost Bike, photo by Patrick Goff 

Today’s picture shows a ghost bike, a white-painted memorial for a bicyclists who was killed or struck while riding on the street. Accompanied by a small plaque, they serve as reminders of the tragedy that took place at their location and as enduring statements in support of cyclists’ right to safe travel.

The city of Kalamazoo now has need for a host of ghost bikes after the deadly bicycle crash on Tuesday, June 7, 2016 where five bicyclists died when a pickup truck hit them on Westnedge Avenue. Four more cyclists were seriously injured. That link has photos from last night’s Ride of Silence and also the horrible damage to the bikes.

Kalamazoo Strong is taking donations to help the victims and families of this tragedy.

View Patrick’s photo of a ghost bike from Grand Rapids bigger and see more in his slideshow.

Here’s a video from the Ride of Silence…